Out of 61 billion euros provided by European Investment Bank in new loan contracts  (54 billion are for projects within the European Union and 7 billion outside - with half dedicated to pre-accession countries), over 13 billion euros were provided for SME sector financing. Overall more than 120 000 SMEs benefitted from EIB support across Europe last year. SMEs account for more than two thirds of private sector employment in Europe, making them an important source of new jobs. However, their size also makes them more vulnerable in times of crisis as they have more difficulty accessing finance in adverse economic circumstances. 


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