Assisting business sector in the deepening energy crisis – challenge for NPBIs

Úvěry střední firmy UB
business development energy efficiency Energy savings Financial instruments support for SMEs Support of entrepreneurship

Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the global energy market. The longer the war lasts, the more negative impact on European economies, especially in time of approaching winter season. In this context, ensuring sufficient energy supply at reasonable price is of vital importance for the operation of businesses – not only for energy-intensive industries, but also for small and medium-sized enterprises, still recovering from the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

While searching for immediate solutions is primarily a political task and as such it is treated seriously by the Czech Presidency. NPBIs are facing this issue from a long-term perspective. They assist enterprises to tackle with the challenge of climate change mitigation / adaptation and profound changes in the energy market. Activities of NPBIs are interlinked with the EU policy goals, particularly with the “twin” green and digital transformation of the European economy. To foster competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs in the current turbulent times becomes a priority of utmost importance for all NPBIs across Europe. They share the knowledge, ideas and experience to propose and realize the most efficient solutions in a short period of time.

Not surprisingly, such topics are present on the agenda of all European networks of NPBIs. Last week, AECM held its Annual Event in Vienna (14-17 September), which stressed the importance of the “twin” transition of businesses towards green and digital transformation. One of discussion panels, titled “Making SMEs Fit for Future”, was moderated by Jiří Jirásek,  Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NRB. This panel highlighted, inter alia, the increased importance of energy efficiency measures for SMEs. Predictable and sustainable support of SMEs is inevitable due to their role not only as contributors to economic development, but also as social stabilizers.

This week, High Level Meeting of NEFI in Ljubljana (22-23 September) will follow in the same direction. During the first day, CEOs of European NPBIs shall discuss how their institutions deal with the challenge of green transition and whether and how the strong emphasis on sustainable financing has changed a strategy of the respective NPBI for the next decade. On the second day, discussion will focus on the flagship InvestEU programme and particularly on opportunities for SME financing and research, development and innovation financing in the starting programming period. Finally, ELTI General Assembly will be organized by the Malta Development Bank on 27-28 October. Details about this event will be provided in due course.

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