Monday

21st Jan 2019

Blame game slows talks on EU investment fund

  • The investment fund is the commission's flagship economic tool (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Negotiators from the European Parliament expressed their “concern” on Monday (11 May) that talks with EU member states about a new investment fund aren’t progressing fast enough.

“We are here to send a very simple and clear message”, Italian centre-left MEP Roberto Gualtieri said at a press conference.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“The parliament ... is working very hard to assure a quick conclusion of the legislative process. … The parliament is ready to engage in negotiation”, he said.

“We are not seeing the same readiness from the Council [representing the member states] side to enter, to engage in real negotiations”.

The parliament and national governments started talks on 23 April on details of a new EU fund, which is hoped to elicit €315 billion in investments.

The “European fund for strategic investments” was proposed by Jean-Claude Juncker's commission in its first month in office, last November, and is sometimes called the Juncker fund.

It was launched with some fanfare as the way to revitalize the EU's economy.

The commission wants the legislative process to be concluded before the Summer break, and to see the first project receive Juncker funding by September.

But the plan first needs approval from the parliament and the member states.

After three meetings, the national governments’ negotiators are “just getting into dogmatic debates, rather than coming to us with a quick and understandable compromise”, said centre-left German MEP Udo Bullman.

His liberal French collegue Jean Arthuis added that in the first two meetings “we thought that we are looking at an autistic phase. We thought things weren't moving”.

But a spokesperson for the Latvian presidency of the EU noted that the member states had been “ready to negotiate since 10 March”, when they adopted a common negotiating position.

They added that it was the member states who “had to wait” until 20 April for the EU parliament to reach internal agreement.

A source close to the negotiations noted that the commission and member states had proposed 12 compromise texts, “which have not been looked at”.

The contact also added that negotiators from the parliament had cancelled technical meetings.

“You need technical meetings to move forward in the political talks. Cancelling technical meetings is not helpful”, the source said.

EU rotating president Latvia for its part is still confident it can conclude the file on time.

On Tuesday, economics and finance ministers will meet in Brussels and discuss “the state of play” of the talks.

The day after, another round of talks is scheduled, with a fifth and final one scheduled for 18 and 27 May.

Ministers clash over Juncker fund

Germany’s finance minister warned that his government would not make extra contributions to the EU’s planned €300 billion investment vehicle, as ministers clashed on how the programme should be set up.

EU bleeding untold billions to fraud

Over €6bn of EU taxpayers' money was stolen by criminals in recent years and over €130m is still being lost each year, EU auditors said.

ECB takes over ailing Italian bank

Decades of mismanagement appear to have caught up with Italy's Carige bank as the European Central Bank takes control in a move to stave off another banking crisis.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  2. Germany led way on EU rights protection
  3. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  4. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  5. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  6. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  7. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  8. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us