The European Commission on June 6 proposed the creation of the InvestEU Programme for the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. The aim is to bring EU budget financing in the form of loans and guarantees under one roof.
“The Investment Plan for Europe has proven a success when it comes to mobilising private investment and creating jobs in Europe,” said Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. “It has already triggered almost €290bn in investment that would not have been possible without it, and provided financing for 635,000 small businesses. With InvestEU, we are taking this successful model and expanding it across the many EU financing programmes on offer. We are simplifying, doing more with less, and placing a stronger focus on social investments.”
In turn, EU Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, noted that the InvestEU Programme builds on the success of the European Fund for Strategic Investments. “We can continue to boost jobs, innovation and skills in Europe with the added bonus of making it easier and more transparent for beneficiaries,” she said. “InvestEU will help us achieve our policy goals such as sustainability, scientific excellence, social inclusion and helping our small businesses to scale up, with the aim of mobilising over €650bn in investments – mostly from the private sector. And we give Member States the option to leverage their EU funds even further through the guarantee fund. A win-win.”
According to a Commission press release, an agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.
In response to the Commission’s proposal, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group said it lacks coherence and ambition. S&D vice-president for sustainability Kathleen Van Brempt MEP explained: “We don’t see a holistic ambitious view or a clear and progressive direction… We need to stop investing in the past, and drastically choose investments of the future. This requires a mind change. We would expect the EU to redirect the money available towards sustainable alternatives, because they are the ones that will create quality jobs and improve the well-being of the citizens. This should be the guiding principle of the InvestEU fund.”