Monday

23rd Jul 2018

EP gives final approval to investment fund

  • The EIB has earmarked R&D among first projects (Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory)

The European Parliament gave overwhelming approval to the creation of a European investment fund in a plenary vote on Wednesday evening (24 June).

It passed by 464 votes, against 131, with 19 abstentions.

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.

... our join as a group

The fund is the European Commission's flagship programme to create jobs and get the European economy back on the road.

Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker proposed it soon after he took office in November last year.

Six months later, MEPs and national governments negotiators reached a compromise on the details of the instrument, paving the way for Wednesday’s final approval.

The fund, which is hoped to trigger €315 billion in investments, is based on a €16 billion guarantee from the EU, and €5 billion from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

One sticking point was where the guarantee money would come from.

The commission proposed taking €6 billion from two existing EU funds: Horizon 2020 (for research & development), and Connecting Europe Facility (for infrastructure).

MEPs were against this idea, but only managed to lower the contribution from those two funds by €1 billion.

Centre-left Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt defended the compromise as an “honourable” one, but said it's “very painful” that the investment fund will still take €5 billion out of the two existing projects.

“You must bear in mind that next year and future years, we are going to drive a very hard bargain, because we want that money back”, she added.

Budget commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said the fund had to be set up in a “very tight budget environment” and needs “very tough trade-offs”.

Finnish Liberal MEP Nils Torvalds said that while the commission and the parliament “share the same values”, this was not true for the EU Council, the body representing member states.

“Georgieva said she'll turn every stone to find money. As soon as she finds something, the greedy hand of the council will try to get that money. … The very first problem we had with the process was that there was no new money, no way of getting the member states out of their corner”, noted Torvalds.

Jobs commissioner Jyrki Katainen, who has been touring the EU the past months to sell the fund idea, also praised the speed between the dates of proposal and adoption.

“I would like to spread the same spirit of 'delivering fast' to [other] areas," he said, referring to plans for a digital single market and an energy union.

Belgium's Van Brempt isn't the only MEP with gripes against the Juncker fund.

German far-left MEP Fabio De Masi called it a “placebo” for “sick man Europe”.

Italian MEP Marco Zanni, of the eurosceptic Five Star Movement, said the fund “is socialising the losses and privatising the profits”.

For its part, the EIB has already earmarked money for four projects: in the healthcare R&D sector in Spain; for an airport in Croatia; for 14 healthcare centres in Ireland; and for a steel pipe company in Italy.

Katainen previously said that, if things go well, the fund should be “up and running” in autumn.

Juncker fund gets political go-ahead

The EU plan for a €315bn fund to create jobs took final shape on Thursday, as negotiators agreed how it should operate and how to choose investment projects.

Juncker fund: €50bn mobilised so far

The flagship EU investment fund has mobilised so far €50 billion in investment, says the president of the European Investment Bank.

EU 'tax lady' hits Google with record fine

Margrethe Vestager has fined the US tech giant with €4.34bn for abusing its market dominance in mobile operating systems - but assured US president Donald Trump that it is not because she does not like America.

EU and Japan wave light in Trump's 'darkness'

EU leaders and Japanese prime minister signed a series of agreements, including the EU's biggest trade deal ever, designed as an answer to the disruption of the world order by the US president.

News in Brief

  1. Greece FM warns of Russian interference in Balkans
  2. Minister: No Franco-German disagreement on US tariffs
  3. UK Brexit minister warns of 'no-deal' preparations
  4. Munich: large protest against CSU's anti-migration line
  5. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  6. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  7. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  8. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. EU will be blamed for no-deal Brexit, UK minister tells Berlin
  2. Far-right Bannon to open EU campaign group
  3. Russia sanctions: test of EU commitment to international law
  4. Malta's PM cleared of Panama Papers wrongdoing
  5. EU wants answers to de-dramatise Brexit talks
  6. Juncker White House trip trumps the agenda This WEEK
  7. Italian populists try to sink EU migrant mission
  8. EU urges no-deal Brexit preparation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us