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Improving the EU financial instruments: AECM and UEAPME present their proposals for the EU mid-term review


26 Jan 2017


Innovation & Enterprise

Brussels, 26 January 2017 – Today, on the occasion of the upcoming mid-term review of COSME and InnovFin, UEAPME, the European Association of Craft and SMEs,  and AECM, the umbrella organisation of guarantee institutions in Europe,  publish  a  joint  position paper detailing their requests for improving the guarantee instrument. At the joint press breakfast on the topic,  UEAPME President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller  stated that “access to finance remains one of the biggest challenges for SMEs. A lack of collateral is the often cause and this is why we need these guarantee institutions”. AECM President Bernhard Sagmeister explained that “national guarantee institutions have a higher coverage of the market regarding start-ups and innovation and growth orientated companies, which is the relevant target group. The guarantee  institutions are very close to their customers and know  the local market conditions and the local  financial  sector.  National  guarantee institutions  can therefore create further added value by offering consultant services as well as network services”.

Access to finance is recognised as one of the major challenges which SMEs  face,  mostly caused by a lack of collateral. Guarantee institutions are there to address this problem by providing  guarantees for economically  viable  projects.  The  European  Union  supports guarantee institutions with EU financial instruments  in form of counter-guarantees. The most widely used programmes are COSME (i.e.  Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises) and InnovFin  (i.e.  EU Finance for Innovators programme).  In addition, SMEs are supported by financial instruments from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and accordingly,  UEAPME and AECM fully support the prolongation and extension of EFSI.

The  main  request  of  UEAPME  and  AECM  is  that  counter-guarantees  (i.e.  with  the involvement of guarantee  institutions)  should  be  provided  under  more  favourable conditions  than  direct guarantees  (i.e.  without the involvement of guarantee institutions). A counter-guarantee has higher positive macroeconomic effects on innovation, growth and  employment. In  addition, the involvement of guarantee institutions  results  in  an increased efficiency in the use of public money due to higher leverage effects generated when using counter-guarantees. This is also in line with the findings of a study undertaken by  KPMG  Rome  on  “the  importance  of  Financial  Intermediaries in SME financing and assessment of different economic effects especially of EU Financial Instruments in light of direct guarantee vs. counter-guarantee contracts" (2017).

Another  core  request  for  UEAPME  and  AECM  is  that  the  European  legislator  should ensure sufficient financial resources for COSME and InnovFin.  The  guarantee  sector estimates a demand for COSME alone of at least 6 bn EUR till the end of 2020.

Compared to the initial funding envisaged for COSME, the financial resources have been more than doubled also thanks to the funding under EFSI.

Link to the position papers webpage:

About AECM:

AECM’s  41  members,  who  are  mutual  /  private  sector  guarantee  schemes,  public institutions or mixed, all have in common the mission of supporting SMEs in getting access to finance by providing guarantees to SMEs who have an economically sound project but do  not dispose of sufficient bankable collateral. AECM’s members, who at the end of 2015 had  around  81  Bn  EUR  of outstanding guarantee volume, in turn receive a counterguarantee from regional, national and European level.


UEAPME  is  the  employers’  organisation  representing  crafts,  trades  and  small  and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the EU and accession countries at European level. UEAPME has 65 member organisations, which represent crafts and SMEs across Europe, covering over 12 million enterprises with 55 million employees.

More information is available on the AECM website at:  and at the UEAPME 

website at:

Contact Information:

The European Association of Guarantee Institutions, AECM

Eleonora Censorii, email:

The European Association of Crafts, Small and Medium Enterprises, UEAPME

Gerhard Huemer, Economic Policy Director, email: 

Jenny Manin, Press and Communications Officer, email:



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