Thursday, May 28th, 2020

ESBA welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a major recovery plan

ESBA welcomes the proposal of the Commission for a major recovery plan for Europe. The Next Generation EU instrument will be an important tool to help businesses stabilise and recover from the current crisis and revamp the Single Market. The European Commission is taking an important step in the right direction and we hope that all EU institutions will adopt a constructive approach to implementing this ambitious plan.

We also warmly welcome the creation of the new Solvency Support Instrument aimed at keeping companies in business and people in work by mobilising private resources. By focusing on otherwise healthy companies, this instrument will enable SMEs suffering from the crisis to keep their businesses afloat by levelling up the playing field inside the EU. The Commission should make sure that the future guidelines will promote fair access to this instrument to all SMEs, as well as prioritising green and digital investments.

We are delighted to see an extra €1.5 billion from the EU Budget and €10 billion for the Just Transition Fund through lending of the European Investment Bank. Those future investments should help SMEs to make a smoother transition toward a sustainable future. Investing in re-skilling and helping SMEs to create new economic opportunities will be important instruments to ensure the recovery of our businesses across Europe.

However, those future investments must include guidelines for commercial and public banks across the member states, as banks are still reluctant to grant emergency loans to SMEs which is putting SURE and the recovery plan of the Commission at risk. In a letter to the President of the Commission, David Caro, ESBA President warned that no conditions have yet been attached to the EIB loan guarantees and SURE funds, which will guarantee that these funds really benefit the self-employed and the smallest companies.

Finally, ESBA stands in solidarity with European business representation in calling for the SME Strategy to be integrated into the Next Generation EU as a tool to foster business recovery. Along with those future instruments, including a focus on SMEs in the Digital Service Act and the future Cyber Strategy will be of key importance to enable new small businesses to emerge. The previous investments should be included in future legislation to ensure complementarity and homogeneity in the Single Market, which will allow SMEs to pursue new opportunities in the digital sector.