March 2020


MARCH 2020





·       E-Commerce         

·       SME Finance         

o   SME Finance Forum: Open “Call for Insights’ on what SME Finance will look like in 2030.

·       SME Strategy        

·       Business Information       

·       FEBIS Regulatory Committee update



The pandemic of the Covid-19 has spread out everywhere on the planet and has already had big consequences on companies and on people globally. The focus is of course put on getting health resources at their maximum level and try to put brakes on the evolution of the epidemy, and many countries have adopted tight lockdown policies with people urged to stay at home to avoid dissemination of the virus. Aside from the health issue, this also has dramatic consequences for all businesses around the world, and more particularly for small businesses who sometimes have been forced to close their premises overnight and are thus massively turning to digital. All countries have also developed economic public policies to help businesses strive during the crisis, going from partial-activity subventions to state-guarantees of finance and loans to avoid delayed payments and cascade liquidations. In current crisis times, getting updated information on companies, sole entrepreneurs, clients and suppliers is even all the more important and business information providers have a key role to play to help small businesses with early-warning systems or credit information services.

The European Union is acting more as a coordinator of various national policies.  President von der Leyen has established a Coronavirus response team at political level to coordinate our response to the pandemic. the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and set up a €37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

Furthermore, on 18 March, the European Central Bank’s Governing Council announced a new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme with an envelope of €750 billion until the end of the year, in addition to the €120 billion decided on 12 March. The measures are constantly updated to take the situation into account and to try fighting effectively against the pandemic.


CNIL launches investigation of Criteo following PI's complaint

According to a press release published by Privacy International on March 9th, the CNIL – French Data Protection Authority- has confirmed that it will launch a formal investigation on Criteo about data collection and potential breach of GDPR in data processing and data management.

This follows investigations by the Irish and UK Data Protection Authorities:

  • Back in May 2019, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner decided to investigate Quantcast following Privacy International’s submission.
  • The UK Information Commissioner has ongoing investigations into several data brokers and credit reference agencies, including Acxiom, Experian and Equifax. In January 2019, the ICO confirmed its focus on the AdTech industry, and in June 2019 published an update report into AdTech and real time bidding, citing Privacy International’s submission, which sets out that many of the sector’s practices are unlawful. They continue to investigate.

More information on this is available through Privacy International’s press release.

SME Finance

SME Finance Forum: Open “Call for Insights’ on what SME Finance will look like in 2030.

To celebrate the new decade, this year's Global SME Finance Forum meeting in Bangkok, 26-28 October, will look much farther forward, to imagine where we might be in SME financing a decade from now.  SME Finance Forum is a partner of FEBIS, and we are therefore communicating this open Call for Insights to FEBIS Members to see if some of you would be interested in contributing, hence the below information from SME Finance Forum.

Following our practice of leveraging as much knowledge sharing as we can from our membership and our wider public audience, we will launch a public "Call for Insights" on what SME finance will look like in 2030. Best articles will be shared in a special report to be issued at the conference, and the authors will be considered for speaking roles at the event.

Submission Guidelines for Participants

·       What will SME financing look like in 2030? What will profoundly influence its ecosystem? Will unexpected players dominate the market? How different will SME financing be in 10 years from now?


·       With the start of this new decade, the SME Finance Forum seeks thought-provoking, creative and impactful insights to help shape the debate on the future of finance for SMEs. We are encouraging participants to share their unique visions in 500-1,000-word essays.

Authors of all submissions that are selected by our panel of judges will receive a complimentary ticket (worth US$2,000) to the Global SME Finance Forum 2020 in Bangkok, October 26-28 - where we will launch a new publication containing the insights. The most outstanding authors will be invited to address this meeting, and to share their perspectives with senior leaders from the World Bank and IFC (either during the event or at the Annual/Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group).

Possible questions to consider (although any and all visions are encouraged):

·       Who will be the main providers of SME financing in 2030? How will that compare to the dominant institutions of today?

·       Will FinTech companies and traditional financial institutions be permanent competitors or durable partners in providing solutions for SMEs?

·       How will AI, Machine Learning and robots change the role of people in SME financing?

·       How will the role of governments and policy evolve to deal with innovations to come?

·       What will the SME finance gap look like in 2030, and why?

Submission requirements:

·       Where: Submit your insights via the form available on the Global SME Finance Forum 2020 website: https://globalsmefinanceforum.org/2020/#submit-call-insights<https://globalsmefinanceforum.org/2020/>

·       Deadline: 31 May 2020.

·       Word count: 500-1,000 words.

·       Originality: Your insight must be original and not published elsewhere.

For more information, click here.


SME Strategy

Commission launches SME Strategy

The Commission has launched its SME Strategy on March 10th. The EU SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe supports European SMEs through strengthening their capacities to adapt to climate neutrality challenges, help them to reap the benefits of digitalization, reduce the regulatory burden that SMEs face, and improve their opportunities to access finance. The Commission outlines the following key actions into the SME Strategy:

  • Increase the  number of Digital Innovation Hubs
  • the EU Startup Nations Standard will see the Commission mobilise Member States to share and adopt best practices to accelerate growth of high tech SMEs and start-ups with the goal of making Europe the most attractive Start-up and Scale-up continent in the world. Sustainability Advisors will work through the Enterprise Europe Network to provide information on solutions to sustainability challenges to SMEs.
  • An EU SME Envoy will work with SME stakeholders to signal to the Commission which EU initiatives merit consideration from an SME perspective. The SME envoy will contribute to the work of the Fit for Future Platform so as to identify existing legislation that is particularly burdensome for SMEs and suggest user-friendly compliance solutions for SMEs to the Commission.
  • An SME IPO Fund set up through Invest EU will support SMEs through and beyond the listing process. It will build on the analysis of the EU IPO market and testing with investors and stakeholders.
  • The Commission will set up digital crash courses for SME employees to become proficient in areas such as AI, cybersecurity or blockchain.
  • The Commission will launch a digital volunteer’s program so that young, skilled people and experienced seniors can share their digital competence with traditional businesses

Business Information

EU Roadmap consultation on European Business statistics general implementation

The Commission gathers, compiles and disseminates EU business sector statistics on e.g.:

  • economic activity
  • competitiveness
  • global transactions
  • performance


To ensure that EU governments are clear on what they need to provide, this initiative sets out:

  • specifications for business and trade statistics, including variables and populations to be covered
  • arrangements for exchanging microdata on international trade in goods, including deadlines.


The consultation on the draft FRIBS regulation is open until 9 April 2020 at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12174-FRIBS-European-business-statistics-general-implementation

FEBIS Regulatory Committee update


The FEBIS Regulatory Committee calls have concentrated this month on 2 major issues, the implementation of the 5th AML directive and the work on High-Value Datasets following-up the adoption of the PSI directive.


Regarding the implementation of the 5th AML Directive, FEBIS has launched a survey among its members to get updates on the transposition of the 5th AML Directive provisions on Beneficial Owners ( art 5) in the various EU Member States; The study is currently been conducted and replies will be compiled by the FEBIS Regulatory Committee and FEBIS General Manager to come up with an overview as exhaustive as possible.


On PSI and the High-Value Datasets, FEBIS took part in the Online Focus Group Call for re-users of public information organised by Deloitte on 26 March 2020. This call has been organised by Deloitte who is conducting a study on the implementation of the High-Value Datasets following the adoption of the revised PSI directive last year. It was focussed on company information and aimed at setting out what type of items should be set up in High-Value Datasets at European level, under what format and with which frequency of updates. FEBIS remains very active in this focus group through the FEBIS Regulatory Committee which will produce a follow-up position paper as the topic is very important for all FEBIS members.




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