Advocacy

The development of microfinance in Europe has encountered many legal and political obstacles. It is therefore important that the European Microfinance Network be strongly involved in advocacy on a wide range of issues related to microfinance, micro-enterprises, social and financial exclusion, self-employment and employment creation.

EMN actively participates in advocacy activities through the organisation of conferences that facilitate meetings between policy makers and practitioners, the provision of strategic information to its members on EU policy, meetings with political leaders, and public responses regarding various issues.

During 2014, EMN has carried out the following actions with policy makers at European level:

1. Inaugural Meeting of the European Parliament informal group "Friends of European Microfinance". European Parliament. 18th February 2014, Brussels. The event was hosted by Mr Syed Kamall (MEP for London) and counted with the participation of 36 attendees, among them MEPs, representatives of the Microfinance sector in Europe and public in general. The event served as an introduction of the European Microfinance sector to the European parliament, and to highlight the main issues for the future development of the sector. A second edition of the informal group is foreseen to take place on early 2015.

2. Proposal for an interim solution to the provision of operational and horizontal assistance to the European Microcredit Sector. EMN communicated to the European Commission (DG EMPL & DG REGIO) several alternative options to avoid the disruption during 2014 of the operational and horizontal assistance provided during the previous years through the JASMINE MDS Initiative. The proposals were based in the use of alternative funding within the recently approved EaSI Programme and highlighted also some recommendations about the new JASMINE instrument to align it better to the sector needs.

3. EMN-MFC Position about the PROGRESS & JASMINE implementation delay. In a first exercise of collaboration on advocacy between the two Microfinance networks present in the EU, a common position was sent to the European Commission, concretely to the Mr Servoz, Director General of DG EMPL, in order to request some clarification about the delay in the implementation of the two main EU instruments supporting the microfinance sector: European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF) and the JASMINE Initiative. DG EMPL kindly replied about the reasons for the delay and updated the networks about the foreseen time-schedule for the implementation of both initiatives on early 2015.

4. Participation on EU consultations. The European Union wants to enhance the participation of the society in general on the EU legislative process. For that, a series of public consultations are regularly opened via the web-portal “Your Voice in Europe”. EMN has actively participated and promoted among the microfinance sector in Europe, a series of EU public consultations regarding the following topics:

  • The European Commission’s strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility 2011-2014: achievements, shortcomings and future challenges

  • The Europe 2020 Strategy

  • A strong European policy to support Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs 2015-2020. Public consultation on the Small Business Act (SBA)

EMN will continue its advocacy efforts at EU and national level during 2015. Do not hesitate to send to us your suggestions for the development of new advocacy actions for the development of the microfinance sector in Europe. Please send to us your comments/inputs via emn@european-microfinance.org