Juncker investment plan: project list imminent

Jean-Claude Juncker [EPP/Flickr]

This article is part of our special report Investment for regions.

SPECIAL REPORT: European regions and sectors hoping to benefit from the new €315 billion Juncker investment plan will be named on a list set to be published shortly by a joint task force of the European Investment Bank and the Commission.

An EU official told EURACTIV that not all the projects listed by the task force will actually receive money from the fund, but the list will serve as an indication of those which might do so.

The list will be included in further details of the investment plan that will be put before EU heads of state and government meeting in Brussels later this month (18-19 December).

The exact details of how the fund will be administered are still under discussion, the EU official said, though these too will also be tabled at the December summit.

Broadly speaking, a new administrative council to be controlled jointly by the EU executive and the European Investment Bank will decide on how the investments are made, but the detailed mechanics of how this will work are still under discussion. 

Miguel Gil-Tertre – a member of Vice President Jyrki Katainen’s cabinet – said that the decision-making process would be detached from the politics of the EU executive to ensure impartiality.

The list will include projects from all 28 member states, which have been sending lists of possible investment projects to the task force over the past fortnight.

The EU official told EURACTIV that, in addition to the new advisory council an independent investment committee consisting of experts will be chosen to deal with the day-to-day handling of the fund.

Projects “with high socio-economic returns” and which can begin at latest within the next three year and which have the potential to leverage other sources of funding will  be preferred.

Fund encouraged not to dismiss smaller projects

They should also be of reasonable size and scalability, according to the EU executive.

The Commission and the EIB will also launch a major programme of technical assistance to identify projects and help make them more attractive for private investors.

“What is important is that the funds go where they are most needed and used to fund projects that bring the most added-value, having the greatest impact locally,” Michel Lebrun, the President of the Commissitee of the Regions told EURACTIV in an interview.

Lebrun said that  he agreed with the Commission’s stated aim that there should be no thematic or geographic pre-allocations.

“All regions have their own specific investment needs and all regions have projects that should be judged on their own merits,” Lebrun said.

However, he said that size and scalability should not rule out smaller projects.

“What I would like to see in the Plan’s implementation is particular attention given to small-scale projects and clusters of projects that can be undertaken at the local and regional level,” he said.

“These types of projects might not make the headlines but taken together can have an enormous and rapid impact on employment and prosperity,” he added.

The European Commission unveiled the mechanism for its much-heralded €315 billion investment plan on 25 November.

Details on the new fund reveal that the cash will be funnelled towards Europe’s crisis-ravaged south, away from the wealthier north in an effort to boost solidarity.

>> Read: Juncker's €315bn investment plan unveiled: fifteenfold leverage and solidarity for the south

The idea is to create a new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), with €5 billion coming from the European Investment Bank and an €8 billion guarantee from existing EU funds designed to secure a contribution of €16 billion in total from the institutions.

The €8 billion guarantee will come over a three-year period from the Connecting Europe Facility (€3.3 billion); Europe’s research programme Horizon 2020 (€2.7 billion) and so-called “budget margin”, or unused funds, worth €2 billion.

The resulting EFSI fund totaling €21 billion is expected to generate €240 billion for long-term investments and €75 billion for SMEs and mid-cap firms over the period 2015-2017.

The plan drew questions over the lack of new cash, with some Members of the European Parliament calling it "recycling and re-labelling" of existing programmes.

>> Read: Juncker investment plan draws questions over lack of new cash

  • 18-19 Dec.: EU heads of states to debate Juncker investment plan at European Council meeting in Brussels

European Commission

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