Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 15

“We are turning a corner, completing fiscal responsibility and structural
reform with innovative investment plans and instruments. This
groundbreaking investment plan, mobilising all levels of government, is
the missing part of the puzzle, the third point in the virtuous triangle.
“We will stand tall on three pillars: the money, the projects and the rules
to create the right business environment. We are offering hope to millions
of Europeans disillusioned after years of stagnation. Yes, Europe can still
become the epicentre of a major investment drive. Yes, Europe can grow
again. Yes, the European social model will persevere. Now that we are
going in the right direction, there will be no turning back.”
Juncker has made the Investment Plan for Europe the central plank of
his Commission Presidency. With driving ambition, deep financial
resources and collective action, realising the plan will not only be an
accomplishment for Brussels, it will also breathe new life into the
European economy.
need a broad political consensus in the
European Parliament and the European Council
that will endorse the Investment Plan and
validate its content, structure and objectives.
We need a coalition of the ‘willing to invest’.”
Juncker then asked MEPs to fast track
legislation relating to the EFSI in order to begin
realising its potential by June, describing the
Parliament as a “key partner in bringing Europe
back to growth”. He heralded the plan as a
novel political tool that will help bring new
economic prosperity across a multitude of
sectors, but as an action plan that could only
be realised at supranational level.
“We need political endorsement and backing,
but not politicisation, of the Investment Plan –
no political fiddling with projects, no national
wish lists. This is a major credibility test that
has to be convincing to private investors and
the world’s financial markets. Here, too, I
count on the EIB’s professionalism, experience
and expertise.
“The Investment Plan is not an ATM, and the
EFSI will not be a bank. We need something
agile, something which is simple for investors
and public authorities to use, and something
that can evolve and develop over time – not
constrained by the ‘silo’ logic of thematic,
sectoral or geographic pre-allocations.
Something credible that builds on established
structures and guarantees accountability. What
we propose can be done at EU level alone.”
The road ahead
“This is an investment offensive that optimises
our economic policy,” Juncker concluded. “We
are focusing on long term, large scale European
investment to create jobs. We are also targeting
SMEs, Europe’s job creators, to give a boost to
the real economy.
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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 ?
Helping SMEs
In February, it was announced that small
and medium-sized businesses would be
the first to benefit from money made
available from the European Fund for
Strategic Investments. The Board of
Governors of the European Investment
Bank, which is composed of ministers
designated by each of the 28 EU member
states, took the decision to allow the pre-financing of SME projects
linked to the Investment Plan to take place before the summer.
Welcoming the move, the European Commission Vice-President
responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness,
Jyrki Katainen (pictured), said: “This is a great day for European
small businesses. This news from the EIB means that by the
summer, cash-starved SMEs and innovative mid-caps across
Europe could be benefitting from an injection of badly needed
capital. We have said that we want to help get Europe investing
again, and today we are doing exactly that.”
The money can be made available to SMEs by the European
Investment Fund, part of the EIB Group, which will cover the risk of
transactions with intermediaries, providing additional finances to
SMEs and small mid-caps until the main EFSI is in place. The EFSI
is expected to be up and running by September, and infrastructure
projects may also benefit from similar pre-financing arrangements.
The scheme
represents a €315bn
mobilisation of public
and private
investment into the
European economy
© Gerd Altmann
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