EU Finance Ministers Approve Juncker's Investment PlanEU | March 10, 2015, Tuesday // 17:57| views
European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer (L) and EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Union Pierre Moscovici at the start of ECOFIN: European finance ministers meeting at EU Council headquarters, in Brussel
The finance ministers of the 28 EU member states approved at their meeting on Tuesday the investment plan of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The ministers approved the regulation for the European Investment Plan Fund, as Italy promised to contribute EUR 8 B to the programme.
Thus, Italy matched similar commitments that have been made earlier by Germany, France and Spain, EurActiv reports.
Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said that by agreeing on the Regulation for a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), member states fulfilled their earlier commitments.
Katainen pointed to the need to provide long-term financing for projects in the areas of energy, digital, transport, innovation as well as reinforcing the backbone of the EU's economy - SMEs.
Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici identified the plan as the answer to overcoming the lack of investment, which has fallen by 15-20 % since 2008.
Juncker's investment plan is expected to unlock EUR 315 B to finance projects aimed at stimulating the EU's economic recovery.
The plan foresees to boost growth through a scheme involving a total of EUR 21 B from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and funds from the EU's budget.
The contributions from member states will be made only via national investment banks, which will ensure that the funds will be spent on domestic projects.
This is in contrast to the initially envisaged EU-wide plan by the Commission, which had hoped that governments would contribute directly to the fund.
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