A three-year programme aimed at generating more than €300bn (£237bn) for huge infrastructure projects across the European Union is to be launched by the EU executive with the aim of kickstarting growth, combating unemployment and addressing the lack of investment in Europe.
The InvestEU programme is to be announced at the European parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday by the new and embattled head of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in what amounts to the first flagship policy of the new EU regime.
While Brussels and European capitals are vesting much hope in the investment instruments, there is also scepticism over whether the modest amount of seed capital being allotted to the programme can be leveraged on the financial markets into the ambitious figure of €300bn.
Officials who have been working on the policy for several months argue that they have learned the lessons of past failures, that the new initiative will take much bigger risks and that the current rock-bottom interest rates make the time ripe for attracting private investment on a large scale.
“There’s a lot liquidity on the markets, but investment is very low because there is a lot of uncertainty,” said a senior commission official. “We are going to remove that uncertainty and target riskier investment.”
The investment scheme has also attracted criticism, particularly from France, because it entails no new public money. Instead it represents a reshuffling of funds from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Luxembourg-based EU vehicle for longer-term investment.
via The Guardian
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