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European Chambers calls for SME Lending Revolution

european unionThe populist rhetoric of EU baiters often falls on deaf ears for UK SME’s. After all we are savvy enough to know the benefit of such a key export market and the lessons we can learn from the continent’s approach to business for instance Germany’s concept of the ‘Mittelstand’.

But at times it is difficult not to express dismay at the behaviour of the EU and European Commission in making life more difficult for SMEs.

One such area is financing.

Eurochambres, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce, has told the commission that SMEs are struggling to gain access to funding for start-ups and expansion.

Eurochambres pinpoint the fragmented nature of the rules for lenders and borrowers as a key driver in the apparent opaqueness in the financial market for SMEs

In addition the global banking crises have been blamed for a reduction in ‘risk’ and the more conservative nature of lending creating a significantly less favourable investment climate for SMEs.

It is the regulatory restrictions however that is seen as the main obstacle to UK SMEs seeking financing arrangements outside their domiciled area.

Miquel Valls Maseda, vice-president of Eurochambres, said:

“It is clear that many entrepreneurs face huge problems in trying to acquire the type of finance they need at the time they need it most. This asymmetry must be addressed as a matter of urgency by the EU’s leaders for the new term.

“[There is an] alarming mismatch that has developed between European banks’ services and the needs of key sectors of the business community”.

Eurochambres are advocates of a far more connected financial solution with calls for the European Commission to be at the centre of the creation of a genuine single market to for finance provision.

Eurochambres has also called for the implementation of more “equity-friendly” tax regimes so as to foster a more entrepreneurial and risk-taking culture in the long-term.

That is one European led initiative that all small businesses of whatever political persuasion should be supporting.