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Vice-President Jyrki Katainen's speech at the European Parliament plenary debate on EFSI 2.0

Met dank overgenomen van J.T. (Jyrki) Katainen, gepubliceerd op dinsdag 12 december 2017.

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members,

It is a great day for all of us who have participated to the EFSI project. But also especially those who will benefit from additional investments in our Member States and regions. I want to thank the rapporteurs Udo Bullman and José Manuel Fernandes for a great cooperation. Also, all the Chairmen which run very smoothly and skilfully our trilogues, like Mr Gualtieri and Mr Sarvamaa, and other MEPs who participated to this effort.

Let me take stock of the Investment Plan's achievements before I turn to the changes under EFSI 2.0. By now, the EFSI has managed to trigger additional investments worth 250 billion Euros. In other terms, it will create new jobs and new financing opportunities for infrastructure, investments and SMEs. In addition to large infrastructure projects and industrial investments, some 530,000 European SMEs and mid-caps have already benefitted from EFSI financing.

In other terms, according the European Investment Bank, EFSI investments done by now will increase European GDP by 0.67% by 2020 and will increase the number of jobs by 690,000. And, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is only the result of EFSI investments by now. So the overall figure will be higher once EFSI will expire later on.

And this is only the result of the EFSI. This is not the result of entire Investment Plan for Europe. There the Third Pillar especially plays a role.

Geographically, the EFSI has functioned also very well. I will give you a list of countries, the five best users of the EFSI. And it looks quite good. Estonia number one, Bulgaria second, third Greece, fourth Portugal and fifth Spain. So when our idea was to address a market failure, it seems to function like we planned. Let me give you some concrete examples of EFSI projects:

In Poland, EIB is providing a loan of over 30 million for a construction of 1,300 affordable houses for low income earners.

In Greece, EIB is lending to a telecoms operator to roll out high-speed broadband, bringing better internet access to rural and remote areas of the country.

In Finland, EFSI supports the first ever social impact bond scheme in Europe. The scheme will support the integration of up to 3,700 migrants and refugees into the Finnish labour market through training and job-matching assistance.

In Czech Republic, a start-up called Frusack received an EFSI-backed loan to scale up their reusable bags business.

In Germany EIB is lending €35 million to a medical device company to support the development of a new approach to treating the most aggressive type of brain cancer.

And in Romania, the EFSI helps a recycling company called Greenfiber to broaden the scope of their business.

And under EFSI 2.0 we ensure that all the projects continue to match the higher expectations which we have set to it. This extension, the EFSI extension, will increase the target of investment to be triggered to at least half a trillion euros by 2020.

EFSI 2.0 comes with a number of enhancements as a result of the input and commitment of co-legislators. Let me outline some of them:

  • First, there is a more precise definition of "additionality".
  • Second, investment decisions will be better explained, and the scoreboard on which they are based will be published. It is a measure of transparency and also of increased accountability.
  • Thirdly, technical assistance to project promoters at a local level will be strengthened so that even more regions and sectors can benefit from the EFSI.
  • And finally, EFSI 2.0 will better focus on EU political priorities such as climate change and environmental projects.

I would now like to focus on three areas where the Parliament's constructive but determined pressure was key, and take this opportunity to pay tribute to the two rapporteurs Udo Bullmann and José Manuel Fernandes. The first one relates to the report of the Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion. Thanks to the Parliament's efforts, due diligence on European Investment Bank operations under this Regulation will include a thorough check of compliance with EU and international standards on anti-money laundering, the fight against terrorism financing and tax fraud, and on tax avoidance.

The second area where the European Parliament clearly left a footprint is the increased transparency. Thanks to the Parliament's efforts, the scoreboard of indicators will be made public after the signature of each project and the investment committee will substantiate its decision on the granting the EU guarantee.

Finally, the European Parliament's efforts are also clearly seen when it comes to support for small scale projects. Like Mr Fernandes rightly pointed out, what is perceived as a small in some countries or regions is actually a large scale project in others. Better use of platforms, delegation models with National Promotional Banks and a reinforced Advisory Hub will help smaller projects to benefit from EFSI more than they have been doing so far.

Before I conclude, I would like to highlight that much still remains to be done: the EFSI plays a major role in catalysing private investment, but the impact of these funds would be enhanced by further addressing barriers to investment in Member States. I refer the Third Pillar of the Investment Plan that is a joint European and national responsibility.

Thank you very much for a great cooperation.



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