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Commission Européenne

MEMO

Bruxelles, 12 Mars 2013

Déclaration du Commissaire Michel Barnier suite à l'approbation par le parlement européen des propositions visant à créer des fonds européens de capital-risque et des fonds européens d'entrepreneuriat social

"Je salue le vote par le Parlement européen des propositions visant à créer des fonds européens de capital-risque et des fonds européens d'entrepreneuriat social. Ces nouvelles initiatives de l'Union européenne vont offrir aux start-ups innovantes et à l'entrepreneuriat social plus d'opportunités de trouver des financements. C'est un an après la réunion des chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement du 1er mars 2012, au cours de laquelle ils avaient souligné l'importance de mettre en place à l'échelle de l'Union européenne la création d'un régime de capital-risque efficace, qu'a lieu le vote d'aujourd'hui. Il ne pouvait se produire à un meilleur moment, car c'est juste quelques jours avant la réunion de printemps du Conseil européen. Permettre aux petites entreprises d'accéder à un meilleur financement est essentiel pour l'économie européenne et il appartient à présent aux dirigeants de ces fonds de se montrer entreprenant et de saisir ces nouvelles opportunités sans attendre."

Background

The new rules on European Venture Capital Funds and European Social Entrepreneurship Funds create a special EU passport for all operators that invest in start-up SMEs and social businesses. The latter are a key driver for growth in Europe but, since the start of the financial crisis, have faced an increasing funding gap. SMEs contribute more than half of the total value added in the 'real' economy and have provided 80% of all new jobs that Europe created over the past five years. Social businesses represent 10% of all European businesses and employ over 11 million paid employees.

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, SMEs, especially those in the early stages of their development, have struggled to get access to the kind of finance they need to grow and prosper. In December 2011, the Commission proposed two new Europe-wide funding schemes facilitating cross-border collection of working capital that benefits those private investment funds that specialise in SMEs and social business (see IP/11/1513 and MEMO/11/880, and IP/11/1512 and MEMO/11/881). The proposals provide a straightforward scheme: once a set of requirements is met, fund managers can market their funds across the EU, cutting through existing rules on 'private placements' that are different in every Member State. Two new fund labels were created, one for venture capital funds investing in unlisted SMEs (EuVECA), the other for funds investing in social businesses (EuSEF).

The Venture Capital market in Europe remains relatively small compared to that in the US. Annual funds raised in the US have often been more than five times that in the EU. Where US venture capital funds invested around 4 million euro on average in each company, European funds could only muster 2 million euro on average per company. Funds specifically targeting social businesses are relatively new, and even smaller.

Under the new rules, fund managers will need to register with the competent authority in their home Member State, but then will be able to market their venture capital and social entrepreneurship funds throughout the whole of the EU. They can target either institutional investors or retail investors who are willing or able to invest more than 100 000 euro. The fund managers will not need to register and obtain marketing approval in each Member State. The rules make sure that the funds focus at least 70% of the capital they raise on equity investments in unlisted SMEs or on equity or debt support for social enterprises.

Next steps

After the vote in the European Parliament, the Council is expected to adopt both Regulations on 21 March. Both Regulations will then enter into force 20 days after their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union which is estimated to be before the summer.

More information

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/investment/social_investment_funds_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/investment/venture_capital_en.htm


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