A European fund set up to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the coronavirus crisis has so far provided limited assistance to its targeted beneficiaries.
The fund was to have made up to 200 billion euros available, but only one financing contract for 100 million euros has been signed in late January, according to the latest figures released to the German news agency DPA by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
EU Member States had agreed in April to set up the fund as part of a rack of support measures aimed at mobilising 540 billion euros. At the time, EIB President Werner Hoyer had described the fund as an opportune, targeted response to the urgent needs of Europe’s SMEs.
However, the actual establishment of the fund was delayed by months. According to the EIB, some member states were late in making their contributions, while European Commission approval came only in December last.