Having sufficient access to finance is an important determinant for the development of an enterprise. It is a well-known phenomenon that SMEs face different challenges when accessing finance than large scale enterprises (LSEs). LSE’s for instance, have direct access to capital markets whereas for SMEs this holds to a lesser extent or they have no access at all. Ultimately, the specific financing needs of SMEs warrant specific policy attention.
In 2008, the ECB and DG Enterprises and Industry of the European Commission established the Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE). These surveys, conducted across the EU Member States and several additional countries, were held in June-July 2009, in August-October 2011, in August-October 2013, in September - October 2014, in September - October 2015, in September - October 2016, in September - October 2017, and in September – October 2018. The most recent wave covers 36 countries: the EU28 Member States as well as Iceland, Turkey, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. The current report discusses the results from the September - October 2018 wave and presents significant developments over time.