The first EaSI workshop took place on 1 December in Brussels and focused on the European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision and EaSI financial instruments. The objective of the workshop was to address the implementation of the Code in relation to: (i) the EaSI technical assistance for microcredit providers that will be made available under the new period 2014-2020; and (ii) the adherence to the Code by public and private bodies willing to benefit from funding opportunities in the framework of the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), the successor programme of Progress Microfinance. The workshop was a good opportunity for the 80 or so participants to obtain first-hand information from Commission officials and learn from each other.
After opening remarks by, the Commission explained that compliance with the Code is a new requirement to be eligible for EaSI funding for microfinance and gave a presentation on assessing Microfinance Institutions’ (MFIs) compliance with the Code. More specifically the presentation focused on the role and sequence of the evaluation process as this is a part of EaSI Technical Assistance for institutional capacity building for MFIs (based on the Code).
Furthermore, the event allowed for knowledge sharing and exchange of information as Stefanie Lämmermann from DMI-Deutsches Mikrofinanz Institut, the national umbrella organisation for microfinance providers in Germany, presented their practical experience in implementing the Code and emphasised the essence of the Code as the future quality standard of the microcredit sector in Europe. After the presentations, a Q&A/feedback session followed, which highlighted some thoughts on the Code, such as sensitivity to national context characteristics including national regulations and the diverse nature of institutions.
Participants also had an opportunity to take part in a field visit to the headquarters of the Belgian MFI microStart, organised by the European Microfinance Network (EMN), as part of their yearly exchange visit.
Further information: EaSI Microfinance Study on imperfections in the area of microfinance and options how to address them through an EU financial instrument.