Kay Swinburne MEP

  • "Despite every good intention, barriers to market based financing still exist"

Commentary by Kay Swinburne MEP, ECR Coordinator, Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, European Parliament

Behind each one of the companies listed in this report are the people that make them. They are the ones who breathe life into our economies, fuel innovation and who pave the way toward a more prosperous future.

For their optimism, their offbeat eccentricity and their refusal to accept the status quo, I offer my warm congratulations to all those companies recognised in this year’s edition of 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe.

For every success story described in this report however, there are countless others still unwritten. Statistical evidence tells us that for one reason or another, many similar success stories in the making fall short of their deserved ending.

That is what’s at stake. If innovative companies cannot access financing in Europe, they will invariably look elsewhere, taking their ideas and initiative with them. If the EU is serious about supporting employment and growth - it must offer diversified funding opportunities to those who make it happen.

The Capital Markets Union (CMU) is designed to do just that. Readers will be familiar with the core principal and with the ambitions. What they may not be familiar with are the real life results - which is why publications like this are so important.

Now in the final year of the Parliamentary term- my last as an MEP, we legislators must either retain the initiative and redouble our efforts, or face delaying this landmark project to the detriment of SME's across Europe.

Whilst valuable progress has been made, important areas such as the development of pan-European pension funds and a cross-border market for covered bonds remain to be agreed. Work also remains to be done toward resolving the taxation bias toward debt over equity financing, harmonising insolvency law for investors, and promoting international equivalence more broadly.

One of the last pieces of legislation I will be working on, is the review of the SME growth markets established in the Markets in Financial instruments Directive. Despite every good intention, barriers to market based financing still exist, and although specialised trading venues will help when operational, they still fail to address the fact that the number of SMEs that seek to IPO remains below expectations.

It is my hope and intention that with the time left in this mandate, initiatives like this one can lead the way in reaffirming the EUs commitment to the CMU.

It is in the interests of SMEs across Europe, be they start-ups or grown-ups, that the promise of the CMU is kept.