The European Commission proposed in last June to create the InvestEU programme gathering all the financial instruments for the next programming period 2021-2027. This proposal will substitute the so-called “Juncker Plan” that has triggered €287 billion in investments as of May 2018.
The European Commission has made a proposal for the next programming period to rationalise in just 4 windows the numerous financial support schemes that have been implemented in the period 2014-2020. There are ongoing discussions of this proposal in the European Parliament and in the Council. The proposal is ambitious, built on the experience gathered by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (Juncker Plan), that has already provided support to around 635,000 small and medium-sized business.
The lack of credits makes difficult the innovation in SMEs, long-term investments, job creation and the economic growth. The public intervention from the European Union is justified to provide guarantees that will increase the risks taken by financial intermediaries. The financial instruments could be loans, guarantees, equity, etc. They are extremely relevant for many development agencies associated to Eurada because they could establish revolving funds to support investments in the economic development of their territories. This is for example the case of the funds like the Dutch Venture initiative established by PPM Ost in the East of The Netherlands, the business angel fund establishes by Tekes Ventures in Finland or Caisse des Dépôts in France. The public funds given as guarantee of losses can leverage the total amount of financial resources received by innovative companies.
When the Juncker plan was launched (November 2014), the economic context had a level of investments below the pre-crisis level (investments less than 20% of the GDP); unfortunately the investments have not been recovered yet. Despite that it is expected that the Juncker Plan will mobilise of €500,000 million for 2020, the Financial instruments in the UE should be reformed to avoid overlaps from different programmes, to give a single set of requirements (the ongoing EU programmes have different legal base), and give more flexibility to set-up new instruments.
The proposal of the European Commission provides a single legal base articulated in a new programme called InvestEU. It will have four dedicated policy windows that avoid overlaps and at the same time gives flexibility to create new instruments. The four windows are related to i) support sustainable infrastructure (proposed 11.500 million EUR), ii) the research and innovation (proposed 11.250 million EUR), iii) access to finance for SMEs (proposed 11.250 million EUR) and iv) social enterprises and education (propose 4.000 million EUR).
In the proposal there will be considered special types of SMES like the ones that are participate by the public sector or small mid-caps with less than 499 employees. The objective is to iincrease access to and availability of finance for European SMEs, in support of employment creation and economic growth. It will provide support for SMEs for which access to finance problem is the most pronounced like start-ups, younger and smaller companies, SMEs lacking sufficient collateral and innovative SMEs.
The programme InvestEU is under discussion on the final and will be implemented during the period 2021-207. It will be an opportunity for those development agencies wishing to establish funds to support SMEs investments on internationalisation, uptake of innovation, cultural and creative industries.