InvestEU targets creating jobs, modernising economy

MEPs increased the EU budget guarantee to €40.8bn for mobilising over €698bn of extra investment

Photo: EP Jose Manuel Fernandes

InvestEU, a new programme for the next Multiannual Financial Framework, which provides a single investment support instrument, was backed by MEPs on 16 January at the first for 2019 plenary session in Strasbourg. The new fund will pool together 13 different financial instruments that are now available, and its basis will be the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), or the Juncker Plan, that has already had impressive results.

Lawmakers amended the Commission proposal increasing the EU budget guarantee to €40.8bn for mobilising more than €698bn of additional investment across the Union. The Commission suggested €38bn to mobilise €650bn. Furthermore, the new programme sets clearer objectives, such as increasing the EU employment rate, achieving the Paris Climate Agreement goals or economic, territorial and social cohesion and better climate protection. MEPs set a target of “at least 40%” of the overall financial envelope of the InvestEU Programme for climate objectives.

EP members also urged for introducing a Steering Board that will ensure the right balance between policy and banking lines in the programme governance and an EP appointee will sit on the committee. Another requirement is that the Commission and the Steering Board have to report annually to Parliament and Council on the progress, impact and operations of the InvestEU Programme to ensure better accountability.

Jose Manuel Fernandes (EPP, Portugal), co-rapporteur on the file, commented that InvestEU will create simplification and will allow to resolve market failures. He remarked as well that the programme has four windows - in the area of infrastructure, in research and innovation, in small and medium-sized companies and in the social field.

The other co-rapporteur on the file, Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, Italy), who is also chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary affairs, opined that InvestEU is not only a tool that prolongs the positive experience of the EFSI and other projects developed in recent years. In addition to further strengthening support for small and medium-sized enterprises, research, innovation and sustainable infrastructure, this programme aims to begin to address the huge gap in social infrastructure, ensuring that projects in the fields of education, health, social housing, are feasible, he stressed.

EFSI has not been the medicine for all diseases and neither is the InvestEU fund the medicine which addresses all the probable problems in the world, underlined during the debate at plenary Jyrki Katainen, EC Vice-President, adding that it's a valuable additional investment tool. According to him, this tool can create concrete jobs and modernise the economy, making it more sustainable, and create added value to the welfare societies. Talking about EFSI achievements, he expressed satisfaction that the number one user is Greece, second Estonia, third Portugal, fourth Spain, fifth Lithuania, sixth Latvia, seventh Bulgaria, eighth Finland, ninth Poland, and tenth Italy.

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