The CoR's ECON commission adopted today unanimously the draft opinion on the Future of the COSME programme – the EU's programme for the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - by PES member Robert Sorin Negoiţă, Mayor of Bucharest's District 3 (Romania). It calls upon the European Commission to ensure a predictable and stable SME support framework beyond 2020, which will take the needs of diverse types of SMEs in different EU territories into account.
Addressing ECON members, Mr. Negoiţă stressed that "Looking at the future of COSME, our main demand is to give more competences to local and regional authorities. Good practices implemented at regional level through EU support can contribute to mitigate the risk of increasing territorial disparities. At the same time, a more active involvement of local and regional authorities in supporting the business environment will lead to a better implementation of European programs for SMEs."
In his draft opinion, Mr. Negoiţă makes a series of concrete proposals, including:
- calling for additional resources to be allocated to the future COSME programme;
- facilitating SME's access to finance by integrating guarantee institutions in the design and delivery of guarantee instruments and including them in loan chains;
- revising relevant EU rules governing State aid rules in the form of guarantees;
- allowing COSME's financing to be combined with other EU funds;
- increasing the loan threshold above which it has to be verified that an SME is not eligible for financing under Horizon 2020 from EUR 150 000 to EUR 500 000;
- setting-up business start-up training programs and dissemination actions targeting all EU territories;
- promoting public-private partnerships between financial intermediaries and regional and local actors in jointly implementing targeted financial instruments.
The draft opinion is scheduled to be adopted at the January 2018 CoR plenary session.
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of EUR 2.3 billion. It supports SMEs in the following areas: facilitating access to finance, supporting internationalisation and access to markets, creating an environment favourable to competitiveness, and encouraging an entrepreneurial culture.