The micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector makes an important contribution to job creation across Europe, but the lack of access to finance remains the greatest impediment to growth. Job creation and preservation is one of the CEB’s main sectoral lines of action and a priority in the current economic context in Europe. In 2016, the CEB approved € 1.18 billion for MSME financing, or more than half of all loans approved. This resonates with wider European efforts to boost economic growth in Europe, such as the “Investment Plan for Europe” (“Juncker Plan”).
The microfinance sector serves clients who cannot access regular banking channels. These clients are often not able to meet banking requirements and microcredit is practically the only source of financing available to them. Many of them are self-employed entrepreneurs. To emphasise the importance of fostering labour market integration for vulnerable groups, including people of migrant/refugee origin, the CEB has modified its Social Dividend Account Policy to allow micro-credit projects access to its risk-sharing window.