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Action 5 - Directing SMEs to alternative providers of funding

Progress so far on action 5 of the capital markets union 2020 action plan.


Action 5 is part of objective 1 (Support a green, digital, inclusive and resilient economic recovery by making financing more accessible to European companies) of the 2020 capital markets union (CMU) action plan. This action aims to direct SMEs to alternative providers of funding.

SME referral scheme

In the2020 CMU action plan the Commission committed to analysing the merits and feasibility of setting up a referral scheme to require banks (and other providers of funding) to direct small and medium enterprises whose funding application they have turned down to providers of alternative funding. The objective of this scheme would be to facilitate SMEs’ access to a wider set of funding options, including alternative funding options.

A call for feedback ran between 12 March 2021 and 30 April 2021 with the aim of gathering evidence and feedback from stakeholders on whether there is potential for such a referral scheme. The call for feedback also aimed at collecting feedback on options for the scope, features and governance of such a possible scheme.

On 7 July 2022 the Commission published a report which, building on the results of the call for feedback and additional input submitted by stakeholders and exchanges held with representatives of SMEs, banking industry and investor community, looked into several possible policy options for a EU-wide SME referral scheme. The report concluded that a scheme that would build on the European Single Access Point (ESAP) would be the most promising avenue. The Commission will wait for the outcome of the ESAP negotiations before considering next steps.


Back to the list of actions under the 2020 CMU action plan