Sunday

13th Jun 2021

EU investment fund ready for autumn

  • The European Commission and the EIB are working together on the growth fund (Photo: EIB)

The EU's jobs and growth fund is to formally up and running in early autumn, a little under a year after it was announced by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

The commission made the announcement Wednesday (22 July) after the signature of a cooperation agreement with the European Investment Bank on how the €315bn plan should be implemented.

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The commission also adopted a paper on the role of national promotional banks in the European Fund for Strategic Investments, which has also been been dubbed the 'Juncker plan'.

"Our aim is to increase the number of jobs in Europe," growth commissioner Jyrki Katainen, said at a press conference.

"One link is missing in our economy, that is investment," he said, pointing out that investment in the EU is now 15 percent lower than in 2007.

One reason for the decline is the private sector's reluctance to finance projects in a risky economic environment.

"What is at stake is that good projects meet correctly conceived financing plans," said Pierre Moscovici, economics commissioner.

"A well-structured network of national promotional banks can play a role," he said.

Together with the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF), national promotional banks will be part of the chain for financing projects at the local, national or cross-border level.

This, Moscovici said, is "the most political part" of the plan because it will be up to member states to decide of they want to create a promotional bank.

Eight (Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Spain) of the nine countries that have so far announced a contribution to the Juncker plan have done it though a national promotional bank.

Only the UK will not participate via a promotional bank.

But Moscovici stressed that the commission "doesn't infringe on national sovereignty" and it is up to member states to decide whether to opt for promotional banks.

Risk financing

The commissioners were also keen to note the relative ease with which businesses and companies can access financing.

"Our main message to the private sector is: You can contact the EIB or EIF directly without passing through states," to get risk financing, Jyrki Katainen said.

The EFSI will provide "tailor-made solutions to different demands," he said.

But he declined to say how much money will be available for projects before the end of the year.

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.

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