Yesterday evening, Euro MPs of the economic and monetary affairs and the budget committees - taking into account the first 18 months experience of the European Fund for Strategic Investment - voted on a proposal to extend its duration up to 2020.
The EFSI is the vehicle at the heart of the European investment plan that was launched to boost growth and job creation in Europe.
S&D Group vice-president Udo Bullmann who will lead the negotiations with the Council, together with his co-rapporteur José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT), said:
”Europe is still facing a large investment gap estimated by the European Commission at a minimum of EUR 200-300 billion a year. Against this backdrop, the needs in Europe for high-risk financing necessary to sustain inclusive economic development are huge - particularly in the fields of SMEs financing, R&D, ICT, transport, communications and energy infrastructure.
”It is crucial to close this investment gap – and it is the EFSI's mission to do so at the same time as supporting our continent in preparing for the challenges of the future, such as climate change, demographic developments and digitalisation. With its performance so far, the fund was at risk of veering off track. Simply extending the EFSI and acting as if everything is well was therefore no option for our Group.
“The S&D Group has negotiated long and hard to ensure the necessary adjustments are made. With more than 80% of the vote, the two committees have issued a strong sign of support to this mission. We have achieved that the EFSI will select better projects, compete less with other funding sources, and broaden its geographical coverage. Climate action and sustainability projects will be yet more at the centre of the funds activities and its decision-making will be more transparent. To ensure that projects from less developed regions stand a better chance of being selected, advisory services and the role of actors such as regional promotional banks that have excellent knowledge of local conditions have been strengthened.
“As leaders of the negotiating team, my co-rapporteur José Manuel Fernandes and I will do our best to make the Parliament's handwriting as visible as possible in the final agreement with member states. Neither a final result that compromises the success of the EFSI in exchange for as little risk as possible for a member states nor a carte blanche for the European Investment Bank's business as usual attitude will do for us. Our continent can benefit massively from this fund that has the power to boost the sustainability of our economic and social model. The EP’s position that was adopted yesterday leads the way into this direction.”