Juncker plan is a substantial step to revive private investment & using flexibility in EU budget rules
"Regions and cities hope that the quality of those projects funded by the new package, together with favourable market conditions, will allow the plan to succeed in mobilising private investors. Excluding Member States' contributions from the Growth and Stability Pact is a first step in the right direction and should be extended to all national and regional investment matching EU Structural and Investment Funds". With these words, the President of the Committee of the Regions, Michel Lebrun, welcomed the €315bn package presented by the European Commission on Wednesday.
According to President Lebrun, "Even though there are no additional resources, the proposed European Fund for Strategic Investments can complement the current European Investment Bank (EIB) offer and promote the use of financial instruments also in the implementation of cohesion policy". At the same time he stressed that: "Intensifying the use of such instruments cannot happen to the detriment of the less favoured regions where, in the most cases, grants cannot be replaced by loans, equity and guarantees."
Referring to regions' and cities' concerns related to the connection between cohesion policy and the new plan, President Lebrun stressed that projects to be financed under the new investment package must be closely coordinated with European Structural and Investment Funds: "The new investment package must be consistent with the priorities set by the new operational programmes and smart specialisation strategies, to help EU regions get back on track". In this perspective the governance of the investment package, he argued, should be designed to mobilise regions' and cities' knowledge of local economies in the identification of strategic projects as well as in their delivery.
With regards to the scope of the new investment plan, President Lebrun pointed out: "The new fund must be allowed to finance sub-national projects, including small-scale projects or clusters of projects, that can often be implemented much faster and have an immediate impact on growth and jobs". It would therefore be of outermost importance that the forthcoming Investment Committee includes experts of sub-national planning and finance so that the projects' pipeline can benefit from a stronger territorial dimension. In this perspective, the current cooperation between the Committee and the EIB could be further developed helping enhance regional and private financing.
Looking ahead to the package adoption, President Lebrun announced that: "The Committee of the Regions immediately started work on the assessment of the Commission's proposal and is determined to provide the European Parliament and the Council with qualified and timely proposals aimed at strengthening the plan's regional focus."
Source: Committee of teh Regions