Commission gives green light to up to EUR 200 billion financing for companies affected by COVID
The European Commission has announced that a new EUR 25 billion Pan-European Guarantee Fund managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support companies affected by COVID is in line with EU State aid rules. The Fund is expected to mobilise up to EUR 200 billion of additional financing to support mainly SMEs affected by the outbreak in 21 participating Member States.
The Fund will provide guarantees on debt instruments (such as loans) and equity instruments. It aims to address the financing needs of European companies (mainly SMEs) that are expected to be viable in the long-term, but are facing difficulties in the current crisis. Read more
Commission publishes legislative package on digitalisation to improve digital space for SMEs
The proposals for a Digital markets act and Digital services act aim to create a single set of new rules for digital economy actors across the whole EU.
The rules specified in the Digital services act primarily concern online intermediaries and platforms such as online marketplaces, social networks, and content-sharing platforms. The Digital markets act includes rules that govern gatekeeper online platforms, i.e. platforms with a systemic role in the internal market that function as bottlenecks between businesses and consumers for important digital services.
Of interest to SMEs, the new rules introduce for example the following:
- give business users flexibility in offering products and services at different prices through other online intermediation services
- provide SMEs access to the data generated while providing goods or services using a gatekeeper’s platform
- prevent platforms from favouring their own services/products in online ranking
Commission proposes new cyber security strategy and Directive
The new strategy and Directive on cyber security aim to strengthen Europe’s collective resilience against cyber threats. Launched on 16 December, these initiatives help to ensure that all citizens and businesses can fully benefit from trustworthy and reliable services and digital tools.
For SMEs, the cyber initiatives include dedicated support under the Digital Innovation Hubs, as well as increased efforts to upskill SMEs’ workforce, attract and retain cybersecurity talent and invest in research and innovation.
The Directive’s legal requirements ensure proportionality for SMEs by requiring entities to take only those measures necessary to ensure a level of security of network and information systems that is appropriate to the risk presented. Most small and micro entities are excluded from the Directive’s scope with certain exceptions. Member states will also be required to devise national policies for guidance and support in improving the cyber resilience of SMEs, especially those excluded from the scope of the Directive.
Commission launches public consultation on EU insolvency law reform
The consultation was launched on 18 December. It will feed into the Commission’s future proposal on corporate insolvency expected for 2022, and focuses on issues such as:
- the liability and duties of directors of companies in the vicinity of insolvency
- the status and duties of insolvency practitioners
- the ranking of claims
- avoidance actions
- identification and preservation of assets belonging to the insolvency estate
- core procedural notions
Stakeholders may respond to the consultation until 26 March. Read more