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Coronavirus: Commission and European Investment Fund unlock €8 billion in finance for 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses

The European Commission has unlocked €1 billion from the European Fund for Strategic Investments that will serve as a guarantee to the European Investment Fund (EIF).

This will allow the EIF to issue special guarantees to incentivise banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and small mid-cap companies hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, for an estimated available financing of €8 billion.

Today’s announcement fulfils the commitment in the Commission Communication of 13 March to bring immediate relief to hard-hit SMEs, with money able to flow already in April. Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “Across Europe, our businesses are struggling. The EU is responding quickly to help cushion the blow and to help small and medium-sized companies, which are especially vulnerable.

Today, the Commission and the European Investment Fund are making available €8 billion in financing, bringing immediate cash relief to SMEs in Europe affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Money will be flowing already this month via local banks and lenders to help those most hard-hit by the crisis.”

Following today’s call for expression of interest, financial intermediaries with existing EIF agreements under the COSME and InnovFin programmes will be able to access the new guarantees immediately upon their request. Other financial intermediaries can access the guarantees following a swift application process.

SMEs will be able to apply directly to their local banks and lenders participating in the scheme, which will be listed on www.access2finance.eu.

Marta Wieczorek –