AECM newsletter January 2012
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Horizon 2020

News - 30/11/2011 - Brussels

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On the 30th November, European Commission issued a proposal for the successor to the 7th Framework Programme for Innovation and a number of other programmes, the package of measures proposed “to boost research, innovation and competitiveness in Europe.

Horizon 2020 Logo

All EU research and innovation programmes, for the first time, are brought together under one programme. More than ever the programme is set out to achieve openings in innovative products and services. The programme focuses funds on three key objectives. A dedicated budget of €24.6 billion to support EU's position as a world leader in science, major investments in key technologies, as well as greater access to capital and support for SMEs. Lastly, €31.7 billion go towards major fields of European concerns: health, demography, climate change, etc.

As part of the initiative, the Commission will set up a loan guarantee facility, which will be the successor of the Risk Sharing Instrument (RSI), a two-year pilot action (2012 – 2013) part of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) under the current Framework programme. A Call of interest for financial intermediaries for the RSI should be published in the coming weeks.

The RSI aims to encourage banks to provide loans and leases of between € 25.000 and € 7,5 million to SMEs and smaller mid-sized firms undertaking research, development or innovation, with loan periods of from two to seven years, and with the risk finance covering investments in assets (tangible or intangible) and/or working capital.

The EIB will mandate the European Investment Fund (EIF) to manage the RSI. The EIF, in turn, will enter into individual guarantee agreements with banks following the submission of applications to the EIF under an open call for expressions of interest, which will be launched in early 2012. Applicant banks will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to their meeting the requirements of the EIF's standard screening and due diligence procedures.

Under the terms of each agreement, the EIF will provide, in return for a fee, a guarantee to the bank concerned against loan defaults. For each default, the bank would receive 50% of the amount of the loan outstanding. The RSI plans to reach up to 500 beneficiaries with a total loan volume of up to €1.2 billion.

The loan guarantee facility under Horizon 2020, to be started by 2014, will have a higher threshold of € 150.000 minimum loan amount, in order to avoid any overlaps with the COSME loan guarantee facility (see related newsletter item). Its programme design will respond to the experience with the pilot programme RSI.

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