Representing more than 99% of EU businesses and providing two out of three private sector jobs, small and medium-sized firms are rightly known as the backbone of Europe's economy. But things are not always easy for them. That´s why the European Commission has launched the COSME programme to facilitate their access to finance and markets and improve their competitiveness and entrepreneurial spirit. The EP's industry committee discussed the programme on Monday.
COSME stands for Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; an EU programme with a €2.3 billion budget for 2014-2020 of which €246 million have already been spent. It is the first European programme dedicated to helping small and medium-sized enterprises. It targets small and medium-sized enterprises, which otherwise would not receive funding from banks. It operates a Your Europe business portal with useful information about doing business in other countries and runs a very popular Erasmus exchange programme for young entrepreneurs.
Commission representatives discussed the implementation of this programme on Monday with the Parliament's industry committee. During the debate, MEPs welcomed the initiative but raised some questions and concerns.
Seán Kelly, an Irish member of the EPP group, stressed the importance of national chambers of commerce: "They can create more awareness about COSME."
Carlos Zorrinho, a Portuguese member of the S&D group, underlined the importance of equivalent programmes in the member states and their potential synergies with COSME.
Paloma López Bermejo, a Spanish member of the GUE/NGL group, said: "We do not need more entrepreneurs but rather more work, and this should be the priority of the Commission."
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