EPRSLibrary By / November 7, 2013

Cosme: boosting economic recovery by supporting small and medium sized enterprises

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are identified to be key players in economic recovery. They are significant drivers in…

© z_amir/ Fotolia

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are identified to be key players in economic recovery. They are significant drivers in achieving the targets for growth and jobs set in the EU2020 strategy. However, without sufficient support in different stages of their life-cycle SMEs face challenges particularly in the fields of competitiveness and financing. COSME – an EU programme for competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs aims to tackle these issues by facilitating access to dedicated financial instruments, encouraging networking and by promoting entrepreneurship. It will run under the next MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) 2014 – 2020. Its main objectives are to promote creation of a business environment favourable to SMEs, to improve access to finance and to facilitate internationalisation of SMEs in the EU and beyond.

Cosme: boosting economic recovery by supporting small and medium sized enterprises
© z_amir/ Fotolia

COSME is one among many EU initiatives aimed at enhancing enterprise-friendly business environment.  It will continue some initiatives carried on under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), which will come to an end in 2013. Especially, it will build on expertise gained in the course of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP). Some other activities of the CIP will continue under Horizon 2020 programme, which focuses on research and innovation. Consequently, financial instruments available to SMEs under COSME and Horizon2020 programmes will be complementary to a certain extent. With equity and debt facilities both programmes will benefit from innovative financial instruments expected to encourage a multiplier effect to money invested from the EU budget. In the next MFF COSME programme has a total budget of € 2 298,24 million.

See also Library Briefing: Innovative financial instruments for EU policies / D’Alfonso Alessandro, Library Briefing, 29 August 2013


Differences and similarities between CIP and COSME / European Parliament Policy Department, Briefing note, IP/A/ITRE/2012-14, 2012, 17 p.
A comparison between the two programmes highlights which parts of the EIP component of the CIP programme are continued under COSME. A case study on access to finance presents how Horizon 2020 and COSME complement each other.

COSME programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs 2014-2020 / European Commission fact sheet on the COSME programme explaining its objectives, main beneficiaries, key actions, and expected impact on the competitiveness and growth of SMEs.

Improving access to finance for SMEs: key to economic recovery / European Commission press release, MEMO/13/393, 02/05/2013, 5p.
This memo presents the results of a joint European Commission and European Investment Bank Group report on the activities facilitating access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2012.

A Selection of related procedures

2011/0394(COD) Programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs, COSME 2014-2020 / Legislative Observatory, procedural file

2011/0177(APP) Multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 / Legislative Observatory, procedural file

2012/2799(RSP) Resolution on the political agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 / Legislative Observatory

2011/2667(RSP)Resolution on the Small Business Act Review / Legislative Observatory, procedural file

2013/2176(INI)How can the European Union contribute to creating a hospitable environment for enterprises, businesses and start-ups to create jobs? / Legislative Observatory, procedural file

2012/2134(INI) Improving access to finance for SMEs / Legislative Observatory, procedural file

2012/2042(INI) Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs): competitiveness and business opportunities / Legislative Observatory, procedural file  

Stakeholder views

Public consultation on a possible successor to the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), 2011 / European Commission


Financial instruments in COSME and Horizon 2020 Brussels, 11 April 2012 : workshop proceedings / European Parliament Policy Department A, IP/A/ITRE/WS/2012-01, 2012, 58 p.
This publication analyses financial instruments available via two different but to a certain extend complementary initiatives: Horizon 2020 and COSME. Both of them aim to improve competitiveness and, in particular, improve access to finance for SMEs. Albeit the same targets, they intent to reach companies in different phases: financing research and innovation (R&I) is in the scope of Horizon 2020, whereas COSME focuses in growth and internationalisation phase of SMEs.

Effectiveness of the competitiveness and innovation programme (CIP) Brussels, 25 April 2012: workshop proceedings / European Parliament Policy Department A, IP/A/ITRE/WS/2012-02, 2012, 58 p.
This publication includes a summary of the workshop held in April 2012 and presentations of the three sessions of the programme: 1) Introduction to the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, 2) Problems and challenges with regard to CIP and 3) From CIP to COSME.

The competitiveness and innovation framework programme (CIP) peer review: study / European Parliament Policy Department on Budgetary Affairs, IP/D/CONT/ST/2013, 2012, 108 p.
Success and shortcomings of the CIP programme are evaluated in this peer review study. Among others the Entrepreneurship and innovation programme EIP designed to support competitiveness of SMEs, in particular by improving access to funding, is scrutinized carefully. Moreover, it explores programmes with similar approach put into practice outside the EU, in USA, China and Japan, for example. Findings based on lessons learned and best practices developed during the CIP programme provide valuable information for the forthcoming programmes, such as COSME.

The consequences of the international crisis on European SMEs : vulnerability and resilience / Dallago, Bruno, 1950- , Guglielmetti, Chiara , Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2012, 299 p. Available in the EP Library.
“Crises tend to hit SMEs particularly hard.” Say the editors of this book, which explores the effects of the European economic crises on small and medium sized enterprises. With an interdisciplinary approach the book combines contributions from different sectors, such as economics, law and sociology.

Statistics on entrepreneurship

Better access to finance portal / European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry
provides a wealth of information on the topic. The data section compiles surveys and statistics from various sources, particularly the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the Eurostat.

Entrepreneurship at a Glance 2013/ OECD 2013
Data collected by OECD and Eurostat provide an overview of entrepreneurship in 28 countries, out of which 19 are EU member States. Selected indicators cover a large variety of aspects such as basic figures on size and performance, attitudes towards entrepreneurship, impact of the current financial and economical crises and contribution of SMEs to growth and creations of new jobs.

Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2013 / OECD scoreboard 2013, 282 p.
This scoreboard sheds light on trends in SMEs access to finance. It covers 25 countries from 2007-2011. Both access and conditions of finance are monitored. Moreover a short review on national government policy measures is included in each country profile.

Flash Eurobarometer 354: Entrepreneurship in the EU and beyond Report 2012 / Conducted by TNS Opinion & Social at the request of the European Commission, Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry Survey co-ordinated by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication, 2012, 256 p.
This report presents key findings of an opinion poll covering 27 EU Member States and 13 other countries. It includes information on the drivers of entrepreneurship, reasons for starting a business, perceptions on entrepreneurs and role of education in such activities.

EU SMEs in 2012: at the crossroads – Annual report on small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU, 2011/12 / Annual report on European SMEs 2012, 89 p.
Annual report on SMEs in the EU maps the importance of this sector for the European economy. It provides an overview of the size and structure of the sector. It addresses  the impact of the recession on SMEs  as well as various indicators on the level of innovations and competitiveness. In addition to figures in the EU this report presents comparison with US and Japan.

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