Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 13

major political and social consensus, a grand bargain to put Europe
back to work.
“I often hear that we need ‘fresh’ money. What I believe we really need
is a fresh start and fresh investment. Others say we need more debt –
we do not. National budgets are already stretched. The EU operates on
balanced budgets, and the abundant liquidity can allow Europe to grow
without creating new debt.
“What we are going to do is set up the right system that will use
available public money to leverage additional capital that would have
never otherwise been mobilised – every public euro mobilised can
generate additional investment that would not have happened otherwise,
and it can create jobs. We will need to look carefully at projects:
destinations for the fresh investment drive should be attractive, free of
regulatory burdens and linked to economic reality, not political
expedience,” he added.
“The money we are putting forward today comes on top of what already
exists. It comes on top of the €630bn that is about to be unlocked from
the Structural and Investment Funds at national and regional level. It
comes on top of what the European Investment Bank (EIB) has already
been able to do so far. (After the capital increase of €10bn, the EIB
shipped €180bn to the real economy.) It comes on top of EU programmes
such as the Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon 2020 and COSME, which
are already investing in infrastructure, innovation and Europe’s SMEs.
“Perhaps most importantly, it comes on top of what EU member states
can do to help themselves, for member states must also support the
investment environment through a better use of public money and a
greater commitment to structural reforms.”
Juncker told MEPs that the Investment Plan would touch every area of
the European economy, from education to transport to energy. By
supporting the development of new infrastructure, he said, Europe’s
societies will reap wide-ranging benefits.
The Commission President then drew attention to the fact that although
new investment is needed, the EU does not possess a money printing
press. To realise this endeavour, said Juncker, the continent will need to
fiscal responsibility to restore confidence and
the sustainability of our public finances, and to
complete this virtuous
omne trium perfectum
[rule of three] we now need to boost
investment. No tree can grow on soil and air
alone – the Investment Plan we are presenting
today is the watering can.
“For the first time, the European Commission
is presenting all three components of Europe’s
future economic success together – not pitched
one against the other, but grouped in one
single, simple message: namely that Europe
can offer hope to both its future generations
and the rest of the world as a promising,
attractive hub for jobs, growth and investment.”
A lack of investment
Juncker then painted the backdrop to the
Investment Plan for Europe, setting the context
for its development and drawing attention to the
significant lack of investment that Europe is
now witnessing, lagging behind its major
international competitors.
“Firstly, we are faced with a serious investment
gap and are caught in an investment trap.
When I talk to investors, they all agree that
Europe is an attractive place to invest in. But
when I look at the figures, they tell a different
story: investment levels in the EU are down to
€370bn below the historical pre-crisis norms.
While investment is taking off in the United
States, Europe is lagging behind. Why?
Because investors lack confidence, credibility
and trust.
“Secondly, we are confronted with a major
paradox: despite the huge liquidity in the world’s
money markets and corporate bank accounts,
investment in Europe is not rebounding.
“Thirdly, our public resources are stretched: our
debt levels have increased from 60% of our
GDP to 90% in the space of just a few years.
Public expenditure already represents close to
50% of EU GDP. What we need is a smart use
of public money geared toward unlocking
investment. Public expenditure should be used
for what it is best at doing: funding our schools
and welfare systems, not servicing our debt,”
Juncker continued.
“Today we are responding to these European
pathologies and keeping our eye on the one
ball that matters: the real economy,” Juncker
told MEPs. “This is not the time for national,
political or ideological fights. It is time for a
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : A N I N V E S T M E N T P L A N F O R E U R O P E ?
Jean-Claude Juncker
announced the
Investment Plan
in front of MEPs
in Strasbourg
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