Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 17

Plan, Portal spoke to Richard Willis of the EIB. He began by outlining the
impact of the so-called ‘Juncker Plan’ and commented that continuing
talks are helping to shape the EIB’s overall role in it, noting that the bank’s
experience would prove useful in helping the plan realise its full potential.
He also explained how it might be possible to “build on existing EIB
financial products, staff and resources” in the plan’s implementation.
“Although there will be a panel to examine projects that are to be
financed by the EFSI,” Willis told Portal, “at the end of the day, all projects
will have to be approved by the bank’s existing structure, in addition to
receiving finance from the bank’s balance sheet. The EFSI will really
become a new arm of the bank.”
The EIB has been working closely with its shareholders, the EU member
states, over the implementation of the Investment Plan, and debates have
centred on how riskier investment projects can be supported. The bank
has also engaged the thoughts of civil society on the new proposals and
the creation of the EFSI.
“The bank’s role as the world’s largest multilateral lender will clearly
continue, and the EFSI will come on top of that, supporting different and
riskier projects. The EFSI will not prevent the EIB from supporting projects
such as Crossrail in London, investing in universities, or from being the
largest lender to the UK water sector; those investment needs clearly
remain,” Willis said.
Multiple benefits
The EIB representative then outlined how the Investment Plan will have
multiple benefits for EU member states, including having a positive
regional impact. Willis described the EFSI as “a paradigm shift
encouraging a more effective use of public resources” and proving
advantageous for investment expenditure. He added that EIB co-funding
is a “more effective use of investment financing” compared to a project
simply receiving funding from the European Commission, and will also
permit larger projects to be financed.
“The EFSI is intended to bring benefits to all four corners of Europe. It is
not focused on certain countries in financial difficulty with stretched
budgets, it is focused on all EU member states; all will receive benefits
and value from the scheme.
“The EIB helps to engage public and private partners in investment
projects and supports many special activities, for example funding
developments in water infrastructure. The water industry in England and
“This initiative marks a paradigm shift in the
use of limited public resources away from
grants and subsidies and towards loans and
guarantees capable of leveraging private capital
and of multiplying the effect of the initial
funding, an approach in which the EIB has
considerable experience.”
According to the EIB, the EFSI will use the
funds put forward by the EU bank and the
Commission to provide catalytic, risk-bearing
capacity. The fund will enable project co-
ordinators to attract additional private finance
for investment in strategic infrastructure and
innovation schemes, in addition to financial
capital being made available to small and
medium-sized enterprises wishing to grow
and expand.
Supporting pillars
Under the Commission’s scheme, the activities
of the EFSI, known as the first pillar of the
Investment Plan and focused on ‘mobilising
finance for investment’, will be complemented
by two further pillars. The second pillar,
concentrating on ‘making finance reach the
real economy’, sees the creation of a new,
transparent European investment project
pipeline identifying potential projects at
supranational level and helping to improve
investors’ knowledge of existing and potential
future projects. The transparent project
pipeline, which will be launched by the
Commission and the EIB later this year, will
also help provide the necessary technical
assistance to support projects.
The final pillar, centring on ‘improving the
investment environment’, aims to remove
sector-specific barriers and financial obstacles
to investment, helping to improve the business
environment and investment funding
conditions. The pillar sees the creation of a
European investment advisory ‘hub’ to help with
project identification, preparation and
development for the benefit of the entire EU. As
part of the third pillar, the Commission and the
EIB have jointly launched fi-compass, a new
platform intended to better equip and
strengthen the expertise of managing
authorities and stakeholders working with
financial investment instruments.
To gain a greater insight into the development
of the EFSI and the wider European Investment
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 ?
The European
Investment Bank
is based in
Luxembourg City
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