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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News announcement18 January 2024Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs1 min read

SAFE Survey continues to find that European businesses are affected by tighter financing conditions and deteriorating access to finance

Banner for Survey on Access to finance (SAFE) Results 2023

Today, the European Commission published the results of the 2023 survey on SMEs’ access to finance (SAFE), an annual survey conducted by the Commission and the European Central Bank. 

The results provide findings about businesses facing tighter financing conditions in the past year due to the general economic downturn. More specifically, the 2023 SAFE survey shows that nearly eight in ten businesses experienced increased interest rates and over a third with plans to grow in the next two to three years see interest rates or prices being too high as the most important limitation to accessing finance in the future. 

Moreover, eight out of ten businesses reported increased costs for materials and energy, albeit lower than the year before, while SMEs reported increased labour costs as well. Companies also continue perceiving a decrease in banks’ willingness to provide loans and credit lines but expect that this trend will change in the future. 

The survey is based on feedback concerning the economic situation between March and August 2023, collected from 15,000 European businesses, gathered through interviews carried out from September to October 2023. Over 91% of these businesses are SMEs, coming from EU27 as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. 

The results of the survey provide important evidence of the conditions European businesses face today. SAFE further affirms the Commission’s ongoing work to support businesses in the Single Market in the current economic situation. 

More information

Visit the SAFE webpage for the results for each EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, and also for different groups of enterprises, as well as an analytical report with detailed analysis.