Invasive alien species (IAS) cost the EU an estimated EUR 12 billion per year, prompting the European Commission to push for an EU-wide approach to tackle the issue. The phenomenon, which occurs when plants and animals are deliberately or unintentionally introduced by human action to a new environment where they establish, reproduce and proliferate, is causing serious problems for biodiversity. The dedicated legal instrument aims to tackle the problem through a new harmonised system and a shift from “cure” to “prevention”.
A new instrument was adopted by the EU : small loans and guarantees will be provided to people who have lost their jobs and want to start or further develop their own small business. The European Microfinance Facility will have an initial budget of €100 million which could leverage more than €500 million in cooperation with international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group.
The initiative is part of the EU's response to the crisis and is especially targeted at those who might not normally obtain loans in the current context of reduced credit supply.
Micro-credit in the EU means loans under €25,000. It is tailored to micro-enterprises, employing fewer than 10 people (91% of all European businesses), and unemployed or inactive people who want to go into self-employment but do not have access to traditional banking services. 99% of start-ups in Europe are micro or small enterprises and one third of these are launched by people who are unemployed.
We offer you some audiovisual material that contains interviews with high level politicians from the European Commission and the European Parliament as well as a concrete example from Belgium on how microfinance can make a real difference.
For more information on microfinance in the EU please see the weblinks below.
Nadege Defrere, Press and Media Officer, Nadege.DEFRERE@ec.europa.eu