EU Microfinance Initiative

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New options to reinforce the development of microcredit in Europe A new initiative has been presented which seeks to improve access to finance for small businesses and for socially excluded people, also ethnic minorities, who want to become self-employed. This initiative, in line with the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs, aims to make small loans, or microcredit, more widely available in Europe to satisfy unmet demand.

main aspects of the initiative:

  • it invites Member States to adapt their national institutional, legal and commercial frameworks needed to promote a more favourable environment for the development of microcredit. This should include making changes to their National Reform Programmes under the Lisbon strategy for jobs and growth, in order to set themselves meaningful targets in this field.
  • setting up a new European-level facility with staff to provide expertise and support for the development of non-bank microfinance institutions in Member States. This would equip microfinancers to offer not just a loan, but a service mentoring the borrower to help develop and ensure the success of their business. This kind of accompaniment is the key to the success of microcredit operations.
  • this initiative proposes setting up a microfund in the new facilityTo find more capital for microcredit providers. This would help finance the loan activities of microfinance institutions which can also expect to draw in contributions from a range of investors and donors. The EIB and the EIF have expressed interest in running this facility.

Communication from the Commission: A European initiative for the development of microcredit in support of growth and employment