On 26 September 2013, the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted almost unanimously the consolidated text of the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME). This programme will provide support to SMEs throughout the period 2014 - 2020 by means of dedicated funding instruments. With four specific objectives - improving access to finance, improving access to markets, improving framework conditions, and promoting entrepreneurship - COSME should help SMEs in their start-up and growth phase and help improve the general entrepreneurial climate in which they operate.
ESBA Secretary General Patrick Gibbels said:
ESBA congratulates rapporteur Jurgen Creutzmann MEP for carrying the report through the European Parliament. COSME is one of the few programmes available dedicated solely to SMEs. We welcome the particular attention that has been paid to calibrating the debt and equity instruments envisaged, something ESBA has advocated since the very beginning. In the current economic climate, banks ask entrepreneurs for exorbitant collateral and offer loans against very high interest rates. The COSME programme has the potential to offset some of these negative effects on small business. However, it should be noted that the general budget of the programme is still low, taking in consideration that funds are allocated over a 7-year period. Particularly compared to Horizon 2020 - a much heftier programme but geared toward highly innovative SMEs and therefore not attainable to most - the COSME programme is a lightweight. Though research and innovation are important, we urge the institutions not to undervalue 'mainstream' SMEs.