The Madrid declaration


1. Value of the SME in a market economy

By their number, their dynamism and their wide adaptability, SMEs represent a decisive contribution to growth and employment in any market economy. Citizen businesses, they participate in the democratic life and in local and regional development.As partners of the SMEs, the Guarantee Societies ask that the representation of the SMEs and their specific interests be taken into account at each level of national and international decision-making.

2. Profile of the Guarantee Societies

At this time when exchange and investment flows are being globalised, and when a tidal wave of mergers is inundating many sectors, the Guarantee Societies want to maintain human proportions that enable them to relate directly with their privileged partners, the SMEs.They ask that honest behaviour and ethical values prevail in an increasingly bipolar economy, where great conglomerates benefit from natural economies of scale that are authorized by corrector mechanisms, including adapted and weighted State aid.The Mutual Guarantee Societies affirm the strength of the mutualist concept of co-operation without forfeiture of responsibility.They are positioned as a link suitably located in a context of cultural and geographical proximity for relaying the needs for the companies to the public and financial circles and for attracting financial means and support measures for SME investment projects.They will pool their experiences and their good practices for the creation and promotion of guarantee tools in economies deprived of such instruments, especially in the transition countries.

3. Relations with SMEs

The Guarantee Societies are at the service of SME’s on a non-profit-making basis.On the strength of their guarantees, they want to facilitate SME access to good quality credit in terms of interest rates, credit maturity and sustainable repayment programmes.They are committed to supporting economically viable projects, especially those emanating from companies at key moments in their life-cycle: birth, expansion, internationalisation or take-over.The Guarantee Societies conceive their support by a mutual exchange of reliable and genuine information, by the appreciation of qualitative elements concomitant with rationalised risk-taking, as well as by accompaniment and advice.They recognise that SMEs, subjected as they are to so much uncertainty, may experience difficult moments. As long as confidence in their viability exists, they undertake to maintain their guarantee support for them.

4. Relations with financial partners

It is the business of the Guarantee Societies to share the credit risk with the credit providers on a clear and transparent contractual basis.They undertake to declare their true solvency situations and to conduct the management of their commitments and their cash flows in such a way that that they can at any time face up to the guarantor responsibilities that they have assumed.They would also like the international banking supervision rules to maintain the qualification of their guarantee at a level that enables lenders to adopt genuine risk policies and to limit the use of own funds as back-to-back credit for their SME portfolios.

5. Relations with regional, national and European authorities

The Guarantee Societies recognise that the public pillar is essential for what they do because of the supervision of their operation and their control, as well as their policies of support via co- and counter-guarantees.In turn, the Guarantee Societies will add their forces to the realisation of policies designed to promote the SMEs.Similarly, at the European level, the Guarantee Societies want to be seen as reliable, loyal partners for achieving the objectives of enterprise policies, the internal market, regional development and the widening of the Union.