EC proposes new options to reinforce development of micro-credit in Europe

Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner presented an initiative which seeks to improve access to finance for small businesses and for socially excluded people, also ethnic minorities, who want to become self-employed. This initiative, in line with the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs, aims to make small loans, or micro-credit, more widely available in Europe to satisfy unmet demand. Micro-credit has been used very successfully in less developed countries, and there has already been some action in this field in the EU, both at Community and at national level. In the EU, demand for this type of finance – typically, loans averaging around €7,700 – is overwhelmingly from people setting up small companies in the service sector. Be it services to businesses, individuals or households, they range from personal computer wizards to window cleaners, gardeners, or carers for people or pets – micro-credit can help make a business of an individual’s skills and abilities.