EU Unveils Micro-Credit Plan for Small Businesses

Jun 2009
Brussels, Belgium, June, 03 2009 - The European Commission unveiled plans Wednesday to free up 100 million euros (142 million dollars) from the EU budget to provide credit to people wanting to set up small businesses.

When supplemented by funds from international financial institutions like the European Investment Bank group, the Commission said, around 500 million euros would be available for micro-credits.

The plan could help people struggling to find money because they are too young, have been unemployed or due to the credit crunch sparked by the global financial and economic crisis.

"This new facility will extend the range of targeted financial support to new entrepreneurs and help them to overcome the squeeze on credit," Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters.

The move would also see such entrepreneurs supported by mentoring, training, coaching and the possibility to increase the capacity of their businesses once they are off the ground, the commission said.

The Party of European Socialists, campaigning ahead of elections to the European parliament starting Thursday, criticised the plan and other commission proposals aimed at cutting unemployment.

"If your house is on fire it is no good trying to put out the flames with a glass of water," PES chief Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said. "Micro-credit is unlikely to have macro results in a hurry."

"This is a weak, conservative commission proposing a weak, conservative answer to the deepest social crisis for decades," he said in a statement.

Source : EUBusiness

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