About the Programme
In December 2013, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted the 2014-2020 EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (“EaSI”).
The programme pursues the objectives of the Union in promoting a high level of employment, guaranteeing adequate and decent social protection, combating social exclusion and poverty, and improving working conditions.
The programme is a continuation of three previous programmes, implemented independently in 2007-2013: PROGRESS, EURES and Progress Microfinance. These instruments form the three main axes of EaSI, supporting:
- modernizing the EU’s employment and social policy (the PROGRESS axis, to which 61% of the programme budget has been allocated),
- employee mobility (the EURES axis, 18% of the programme budget),
- access to finance for disadvantaged groups and micro-enterprises, and social entrepreneurship (the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis, accounting for 21% of the programme budget).
The original budget of the programme is EUR 919.5 million in 2013 prices. This amount is to be increased as part of the Investment Plan for Europe, the EU’s key initiative to boost business investment.
The EaSi Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis supports two thematic sections: microfinance for disadvantaged groups and micro-enterprises, and social entrepreneurship. For each section a minimum of 45% of the axis budget amounting to EUR 193.1 million (21% of the total Programme budget) has been allocated.
The objectives of the Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis are:
- Improving access to microfinance for representatives of vulnerable groups who want to set up or expand their business, and for micro-enterprises.
- Building institutional capacity among microcredit providers.
- Supporting the development of social enterprises, in particular by facilitating access to finance.
On 24th June 2015 the European Commission and the European Investment Fund announced the signing of an agreement on the use of financial instruments by the EIF under the “EaSI” programme. At the same time, the EIF published a Call for Expression of Interest on Portfolio Guarantees for Microfinance. In July 2015 the offer was extended with guarantees for financing social enterprises. The recruitment of candidates for financial intermediaries of both instruments is conducted on a continuous basis and will last until 2023. So far, the offer in Poland has been launched by two programme intermediaries.
EaSI financial instruments include also counter-guarantees for microfinance and for the financing of social enterprises. The budget of risk-sharing instruments, amounting to EUR 96 million, is to enable the mobilization of around EUR 500 million of preferential loans in Europe for people setting up and developing micro- and social enterprises. The programme involves also plans for loans and equity financing to financial institutions providing microcredits to increase their operational capacity and improve access to finance for micro-entrepreneurs.
Financial institutions interested in microfinance guarantees should implement or declare compliance with the European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision.
Detailed information on the financial instruments of the EaSI programme is available at the National Contact Point for Financial Instruments of EU Programmes.
The EaSI Programme Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship Axis replaces the European Progress Microfinance Facility. Under the instrument, the European Investment Fund offered, inter alia, risk-sharing instruments (guarantees and counter-guarantees) for financial institutions offering microfinance, as well as loans (including subordinated loans) and equity financing for micro-loan providers.
The list of financial intermediaries in Poland offering preferential financing under the Progress Microfinance Facility and the EaSI programme is available on the Financing for Beneficiaries website.
Information on the EaSI Programme: