Juncker plan: MEPs and ministers strike informal deal to bridge investment gap
A deal struck by MEPs and Council of Ministers negotiators in the small hours of Thursday morning means the architecture of the Juncker plan to unlock €315 billion public and private investments in the real economy in 2015-2017 can now be put to a European Parliament vote on 24 June and the investment programme can kick off in the summer.
Parliament’s negotiators scaled back cuts in the EU’s “Horizon2020” research and innovation programme and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF – to link up Europe’s energy, transport and digital networks). They also ensured that the plan creates a stable financing mechanism to bridge the investment gap in Europe, by clarifying the investment guarantee fund’s governance structure and making it more accountable to representatives of EU citizens.
For more, follow the webstreamed press conference at 10.00.
Quotes from key negotiators
José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT), budgets rapporteur
"I welcome the agreement, which will contribute to growth and will create jobs throughout Europe. We have managed to reduce the overall cuts in Horizon 2020 and CEF by €1 billion. After this first battle won, we shall pursue the same objective in each annual budgetary negotiation."
Udo Bullmann (S&D, DE), economy rapporteur
"Parliament has made the investment plan work. We paved the way for fresh investment in energy efficiency, broadband and transport. Member states will be able to use the new instrument to modernize their economy. It is a success for EU citizens, who will see more growth and have more jobs."
Jean Arthuis (ALDE, FR), Budgets Committee chair
"Each negotiating team had to make sacrifices for the plan to work and to bring about job creation and economic growth. Everyone has made concessions but I think we all fought for the best results."
Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT), Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee chair
"The agreement paves the way for an effective investment plan to take off. The European Parliament succeeded in improving considerably the text along the guidelines set by its mandate. The Juncker Plan can thus efficiently contribute to the recovery of the European economy."
Presented last November, the Juncker Plan aims to create a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) made up of €5 billion capital from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a €16-billion guarantee fund, to be filled up to €8 billion from the EU budget, out of which the EIB may be paid in the event of a call on the guarantee. The original Commission proposal would have used €3.3 billion of the energy, transport and digital networks programme Connecting Europe Facility, €2.7 billion of Europe’s research programme Horizon 2020 and €2 billion of the unallocated margins of the budget 2015, 2016 and 2017.