Improving access to capital markets

Foreword by Roberto Gualtieri MEP, Chair, Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee European Parliament, S&D

Roberto Gualtieri MEP The 2017 edition of 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe comes at a critical moment in the EU legislative cycle: the European Parliament is currently halfway through its five-year term.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, our committee has worked towards passing a number of initiatives to make it easier for Europe’s SMEs, the backbone of economic growth, to access finance and create jobs in Europe. As the European economy crawls out of the recession, now is the time to make the necessary changes to ensure that capital markets are deployed to the fullest.

Since the last 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe report was published, the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee, together with the European Commission and the member states, has achieved a num-ber of important goals. These include the review of the Prospectus Regulation, which simplifies the rules and procedures while also making it cheaper and simpler for small businesses to access capital markets.

Other important steps forward are the review of the European venture capital funds regulation and the review of the European social entrepreneurship funds regulation, which will open up EuVECA and EuSEF to fund managers of all sizes. This move will allow more companies to benefit from EuVECA investments. It will also improve access of investors to small and growing businesses and social ventures, while making cross-border marketing of EuVECA and EuSEF funds less costly.

Further, new regulation on reviving the securitisation market has been finalised, which should help to free up bank lending so that more financing can go towards supporting SMEs.

The ECON Committee also drafted an own initiative report on covered bonds, which includes a number of recommendations to make the framework available to riskier types of assets, for example SME finance. It also serves to extend the principles to debt instruments which finance growth-enhancing economic activi-ties such as SME investments.

Finally, our committee continues to try to make it easier for banks to lend to SMEs. One of the ways in which we are doing this is by supporting the ECON Commission’s proposal on adjustments to the capital requirements regulation, which maintains the deviation to the requirements for exposure to SMEs, as well as extending its scope with no upper limit.

I look forward to continuing to work with the sector to make sure that we fulfil our promise to European citizens to move forward with the necessary reforms to deliver a CMU for the companies of Europe.