InvestEU will bring better jobs
The bigger part of the programme reserved to support sustainable infrastructure will serve climate and environmental goalsMaria Koleva , Brussels
EFSI, the core pillar of the successful Investment Plan for Europe, known as Juncker Plan, will become a substantial ingredient of the InvestEU initiative for the 2021-2027 programme period. On the last day of the last session of this European Parliament, the lawmakers propped up a provisional and partial deal with the Council on a new EU programme to support investment and access to finance during the next seven years with the aim to reduce the significant investment gap that still exists in the EU.
The report, co-authored by Jose Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT) and Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT), was backed by 463 votes to 64 and 29 abstentions. InvestEU, the new investment plan, will join the altogether 14 financial instruments that are now available. Besides EFSI, it will shelter the Connecting Europe Facility instruments, specific facilities under the COSME programme, particular guarantees and facilities under the Employment and Social Innovation programme. Following the model of the Juncker Plan, InvestEU will consist of the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal.
MEPs proposed a guarantee of €40.8bn to mobilise €700bn, while the Commission is foreseeing an EU guarantee of €38bn, to trigger €650bn. The EU ministers already gave consent on the EP priorities, such as clearer and new objectives, among them employment, contributing to the achievement of the Paris Climate Agreement goals and economic, territorial and social cohesion. In addition, a target of “at least 55%” of the investment under part of the programme reserved to support sustainable infrastructure was set for climate and environmental goals. Money will receive projects which otherwise would have been difficult to finance.
InvestEU will bring more investment, competitiveness and economic growth, allowing for more and better jobs all across the EU, Fernandes, co-rapporteur for the Committee on Budgets, stated. He also underlined that it will help economic, social and territorial cohesion and close the investment gap in the EU by supporting public and private investment in SMEs, research, innovation and digitalisation, sustainable infrastructure and the social sector.
His colleague Gualtieri, who is co-rapporteur and chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, pointed out that, with InvestEU, “we are shaping the future of the EU towards more investments to support small and medium-sized enterprises as well as local projects. Moreover, we strongly link this new tool with the incentive to support environmental, social and governance projects, promoting culture and ensuring ethical and sustainable finance.”
Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elzbieta Bienkowska, who took part in the debate on the topic, emphasised that the partial agreement EP have reached with the Council on InvestEU, in a record time, will allow for preparatory work to proceed quickly. This will ensure a smooth and timely implementation on day one of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), allowing for a seamless continuation of investment support, she stressed, adding that InvestEU will simplify the existing set of financial instruments and, under a single guarantee, rule book and brand, cater for sectors that are experiencing investment gaps and sub-optimal investments situations. Digitalisation, social housing, research, energy efficiency and urban transport are just some of the key areas that today don't find adequate financing on the market, she said, adding that the InvestEU guarantee will unlock such financing and crowd-in private money for the public good.
As it is proposed, the InvestEU Fund will be implemented through financial partners who will invest in projects using the EU guarantee. The main partner will be the EIB Group, which has successfully implemented and managed EFSI since its launch in 2015. Other partners will be international financial institutions active in Europe - such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank. National Promotional Banks will have direct access to the EU guarantee.
The new fund will also feature a Member State compartment for each policy area, meaning that Member States may add to the EU guarantee's provisioning by voluntarily channelling some of their Cohesion Policy funds to these compartments. Member States will benefit from the EU guarantee and its high credit rating, giving national and regional investments more firepower.