Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2016/2064(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0200/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0200/2017

Debates :

PV 14/06/2017 - 17
CRE 14/06/2017 - 17

Votes :

PV 15/06/2017 - 7.5

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0270

Texts adopted
PDF 290kWORD 62k
Thursday, 15 June 2017 - Strasbourg Final edition
Implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments
P8_TA(2017)0270A8-0200/2017

European Parliament resolution of 15 June 2017 on the implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (2016/2064(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 165 and 166 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 14 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2015 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal and amending Regulations (EU) No 1291/2013 and (EU) No 1316/2013 — the European Fund for Strategic Investments (1) (the EFSI Regulation),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission of 31 May 2016 to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Court of Auditors on the management of the Guarantee Fund of the European Fund for Strategic Investment in 2015 (COM(2016)0353),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 1 June 2016 to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Europe investing again – Taking stock of the Investment Plan for Europe and next steps’ (COM(2016)0359,

–  having regard to the annual report from the European Investment Bank to the European Parliament and the Council on 2015 EIB Group Financing and Investment Operations under EFSI(2) ,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document ‘Evaluation’ (SWD(2016)0297), to the Evaluation of the functioning of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) by the European Investment Bank(3) , to the Ad-hoc audit of the application of Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 by Ernst and Young(4) and to the opinion of the European Court of Auditors(5) ,

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulations (EU) No 1316/2013 and (EU) 2015/1017 as regards the extension of the duration of the European Fund for Strategic Investments as well as the introduction of technical enhancements for that Fund and the European Investment Advisory Hub (COM(2016)0597),

–   having regard to the Paris Agreement adopted at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Paris, France in December 2015,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(6) ,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(7) ,

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Transport and Tourism, the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Budgetary Control, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0200/2017),

1.  Takes note of the large investment gap in Europe, which the Commission estimates at a minimum of EUR 200-300 billion a year; highlights in particular, against this backdrop, the needs in Europe for high-risk financing, particularly in the fields of SME financing, R&D, ICT and transport, communications and energy infrastructure, which are necessary to sustain inclusive economic development; is concerned by the fact that the most recent data on national accounts do not indicate any surge in investment since the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) was launched, leading to concerns that, without a change, there will be continued subdued growth and continuing high unemployment rates, particularly among young people and the new generations; stresses that closing this investment gap by creating an environment conducive to investment in certain strategic areas is key to reviving growth, fighting unemployment, promoting the development of a strong, sustainable and competitive industry and attaining long-term EU policy objectives;

2.  Emphasises the role played by EFSI in helping to resolve difficulties and remove obstacles to financing as well as to implement strategic, transformative and productive investments that provide a high level of added value to the economy, the environment and society, to reform and modernise Member States’ economies, to create growth and jobs for which market funding is not obtained despite economic feasibility, and to encourage private investment in all regions of the EU;

3.  Recalls the role of Parliament as provided for in the regulation, in particular in relation to the monitoring of EFSI implementation; acknowledges, however, that it is too early to finalise a comprehensive evidence-based assessment of the functioning of EFSI and its impact on the EU economy, but is of the opinion that a preliminary evaluation based on comprehensive data on the projects selected and rejected and the related decisions is crucial in order to identify possible areas of improvement for EFSI 2.0 and thereafter; calls on the Commission to come forward with a comprehensive assessment as soon as the information becomes available;

Additionality

4.  Recalls that the purpose of EFSI is to ensure additionality by helping to address market failures or suboptimal investment situations, by supporting operations which could not have been carried out, or not to the same extent, under existing Union financial instruments or through private sources without the involvement of EFSI; notes, however, that there is a need for further clarification of the concept of additionality;

5.  Recalls that the projects supported by EFSI, while striving to create employment, sustainable growth, economic, territorial and social cohesion in line with the general objectives laid down in Article 9 of the EFSI Regulation, are considered to provide additionality if they carry a risk corresponding to EIB special activities, as defined in Article 16 of the EIB Statute and by the credit risk policy guidelines of the EIB; recalls that projects supported by EFSI shall typically have a higher risk profile than projects supported by EIB normal operations; underlines that EIB projects carrying a risk lower than the minimum risk under EIB special activities may also be supported by EFSI only if use of the EU guarantee is required to ensure additionality;

6.  Notes that, while all projects approved under EFSI are presented as ‘special activities’, an independent evaluation has found that some projects could have been financed without the use of the EU guarantee;

7.  Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the EIB and the EFSI governance structures, to draw up an inventory of all EU-backed EIB financing falling under the additionality criteria and to provide clear and comprehensive explanations of the evidence that the projects could not have been realised through other means;

8.  Notes that a contradiction between the qualitative and quantitative goals of EFSI might occur in the sense that, to achieve the target for attracted private investment, the EIB might fund less risky projects where investors’ interest already exists; urges the EIB and the EFSI governance structures to implement real additionality as defined in Article 5 of the EFSI Regulation and to ensure that market failures and sub-optimal situations are fully addressed;

9.  Calls on the EIB to ensure transparency in funds management and in relation to the origin of any public, private and third-party contributions, and to provide concrete data, including on specific projects and on foreign investors, and highlights the reporting requirements to Parliament in the EFSI Regulation; reiterates the fact that all potential future third-country contributors have to comply with all EU rules on public procurement, labour law and environmental regulations, and expects that the social and environmental criteria applicable to EIB projects are fully upheld in EFSI project financing decisions;

Scoreboard and project selection

10.  Notes that, as provided for in the regulation, prior to a project being selected for EFSI support, it has to undergo due-diligence and decision-making processes both in the EIB and the EFSI governance structures; observes that project promoters have expressed a wish for swift feedback and enhanced transparency in relation to both the selection criteria and the amount and type/tranche of possible EFSI support; calls for greater clarity in order to further encourage project promoters to apply for EFSI support, including by making the scoreboard available to applicants for EFSI financing; calls for the decision‑making process to be made more transparent in respect of the selection criteria and financial support and to be speeded up, while continuing to ensure robust due‑diligence in order to protect EU resources; underlines that, in order to simplify the evaluation process, in particular for investment platforms, joint due-diligence on the part of the EIB and National Promotional Banks (NPBs), or a delegation by the EIB to NPBs, should be encouraged;

11.  Considers that the criteria according to which projects and eligible counterparts are assessed should be further clarified; requests further information from the EFSI governing bodies on the evaluations carried out on all projects approved under EFSI accordingly, in particular as regards their additionality, their contribution to sustainable growth and their job creation capacity, as defined in the regulation; calls, in relation to eligible counterparts, for strict rules on corporate governance for these types of entity to become acceptable EFSI partners in respect of EU principles and International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards;

12.  Recalls that the scoreboard is a tool for the Investment Committee (IC) to prioritise the use of the EU guarantee for operations that display higher scores and added value, and that it must be used by the Investment Committee accordingly; intends to assess whether the scoreboard and its indicators are being properly consulted, applied and used; requests that the project selection criteria be properly applied and this process be made more transparent; recalls that, according to the annex to the current regulation, the IC must assign equal importance to each pillar of the scoreboard when prioritising projects, irrespective of whether the individual pillar yields a numerical score, or whether it is composed of unscored qualitative and quantitative indicators; regrets that Pillar 3, relevant to the technical aspects of the projects, is in the current scoreboards given the same importance as Pillars 1 and 2, which relate to the more important desired outcomes; criticises the fact that the EIB itself admits that the IC’s experts only make use of the 4th pillar for information purposes, not for decision-making; requests that scoreboards, with the exclusion of commercially sensitive information, be made public after the final decision on a project has been taken;

13.  Acknowledges that it may take some years to prepare new innovative projects, that the EIB is under pressure to achieve the EUR 315 billion goal and therefore had no option but to launch EFSI activities immediately; is concerned, however, that the EIB, when implementing EFSI, has thus far drawn on its existing project pipeline with lower risk projects to a large extent, thereby reducing its own conventional financing; fears that EFSI does not provide complementary financing for high-risk innovative projects; underlines that even though a project qualifies as a special activity, this does not necessarily imply that it is risky; however, the classification as a special activity might also stem from the fact that its financing has been structured in an artificially risky fashion, implying that very low-risk projects can also easily end up as high-risk projects; stresses that the project criteria should not be watered down for the sake of achieving the political target of EUR 315 billion in mobilised investments;

14.  Requests that the EIB provide an estimate of its potential annual lending capacity in the medium term, taking into account EFSI and possible regulatory developments and to continue its own lending at rates of EUR 70‑75 billion a year, using profits, repayments from the programmes etc., and that it use EFSI as complementary tool; notes that this would mean the business volume of the EIB would reach at least EUR 90 billion, not EUR 75 billion in total;

15.  Considers it important to discuss whether the envisaged leverage of 15 is appropriate to enable EFSI to support high quality projects bearing a higher risk, and calls on the Commission to provide an assessment to that effect; recalls that this leverage of 15 is portfolio-based and reflects the EIB’s financing experience with a view to addressing market failures; calls for weighing up the public goals to be achieved by EFSI as a complement to the volume requirement; suggests that account also be taken of the Union’s targets set at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21); calls on the EIB to disclose the leverage achieved to date, together with the underlying calculation method;

16.  Points out that small-scale projects often encounter difficulties in obtaining the funding they need; notes with concern that small projects are deterred from applying for EFSI financing, or are even declared ineligible for that funding, based on their size; points to the significant impact that a small project might nevertheless have on a national or regional scale; stresses the need to step up the technical assistance available from the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH), which is instrumental in advising and accompanying promoters of small-scale projects in the structuring and bundling of projects via investment platforms or framework agreements; calls on the Steering Board to look into this issue and put forward proposals to correct this situation;

Sectorial diversification

17.  Emphasises that EFSI is a demand-driven instrument, which should, however, be guided by the political objectives set out in the regulation and defined by the Steering Board; calls for more outreach and provision of information to sectors which have an unmet demand for investment, but have not been able to make full use of EFSI; notes, in this regard, that, on an EU macro-economic level, more measures should be taken to boost demand for investment;

18.  Welcomes that all sectors defined in the EFSI Regulation have been covered by EFSI financing; points out, however, that certain sectors are under-represented, notably the social infrastructure, health and education sectors, to which only 4 % of EFSI‑approved financing has been dedicated; notes that this might be due to a variety of reasons, for example that some sectors might have suffered from a lack of experience and technical knowledge of how to get access to EFSI, or that they already offered better investment opportunities in terms of shovel-ready, bankable projects when EFSI started up; invites the EIB against this backdrop to discuss how to improve sectoral diversification, linking it to the goals set out in the regulation as well as the issue of whether EFSI support should be extended to other sectors;

19.  Recalls that the COP21 climate agreement endorsed by the EU requires a major shift towards sustainable investment that EFSI should fully support; stresses that EFSI investments should be compatible with this commitment; underlines the need to strengthen reporting on climate change;

20.  Points to the need to increase the percentage of resources allocated to long-term projects such as telecommunications networks, or to projects involving a relatively high degree of risk typically associated with more advanced emerging new technologies; notes that investment in broadband infrastructure and 5G, cybersecurity, the digitalisation of the traditional economy, micro-electronics and high-performance computing (HPC) could further reduce the digital divide;

21.  Regrets the lack of concentration limits in the initial ramp-up phase; recalls that the transport sector has made the largest contribution to the EFSI fund, EUR 2,2 billion out of EUR 8 billion, representing more than 25 % of the total guarantee fund; notes with concern that the transport sector has received only around 13 % of all the investment mobilised and made available to date under the EFSI’s infrastructure and innovation window, which is far from the 30 % limit established for each specific sector; calls on the Investment Committee to pay particular attention to transport sector projects, since these are still very poorly represented in the investment portfolio, and transport plays a significant role in economic growth and consumer safety;

Governance

22.  Observes that the EFSI governance structures have been implemented in full within the EIB; considers that, with a view to improving the efficiency and accountability of EFSI, options for making the EFSI governance structure completely separate from that of the EIB should be discussed;

23.  Recalls that the Managing Director (MD) is responsible for the day-to-day management of EFSI, the preparation and chairing of meetings of the IC and for external representation; recalls that the MD is assisted by the Deputy Managing Director (DMD); regrets that, in practice, the respective roles, especially that of the DMD, have not been clearly identified; invites the EIB to reflect on spelling out the tasks of the MD and the DMD more clearly in order to ensure transparency and accountability; considers it important that the MD, assisted by the DMD, continue to set the agenda of the IC meetings; suggests, furthermore, that the MD should devise procedures for tackling potential conflicts of interest within the IC, report to the Steering Board (SB) and propose sanctions for breaches as well as the means to implement them; believes that the authority of the MD and the DMD in carrying out these tasks would be enhanced by enjoying greater autonomy vis-à-vis the EIB; invites the EIB accordingly to explore options for increasing the independence of the MD and the DMD;

24.  Recalls that the IC experts are responsible for EFSI project selection, granting the EU guarantee and for approving operations with investment platforms and NPBs or institutions; recalls further that they are independent; is concerned, therefore, about documented conflicts of interest on the part of IC members, which must in all circumstances be avoided in the future;

25.  Considers that project selection is not transparent enough; stresses that the EIB should make improvements in relation to the disclosure of information about the projects it approves under EFSI, with a proper justification of additionality and the scoreboard as well as the projects’ contribution in achieving the EFSI objectives, with particular emphasis on the expected impact of EFSI operations on the investment gap in the Union;

26.  Invites the EIB to reflect on the ways in which cooperation between IC, through the MD and the SB, could be enhanced; considers it important that the MD participate in SB meetings which would allow the MD to inform the SB about future activities;

27.  Proposes discussing means of enhancing the transparency of EFSI governance structures for Parliament and the addition of a further full member to the SB appointed by Parliament; urges the EFSI governance bodies to share information with Parliament on a proactive basis;

National Promotional Banks

28.  Recalls that as a result of their know‑how, NPBs are essential for the success of EFSI, as they are close to, and familiar with, the local markets; finds that synergies have so far not been exploited to the requisite extent; observes a risk of local institutions being crowded out by the EIB and invites the EIB to improve its ability to crowd in national and sub-national partners; calls for the EIB to support the enhancement of existing public banking structures, with a view to actively facilitating the exchange of good practices and market knowledge among these institutions; considers, to that end, that NPBs should aim at entering into collaboration agreements with the European Investment Fund (EIF); recognises that EFSI and the EIB are increasingly willing to take more junior/subordinated tranches with the NPBs and urges them to continue to do so; invites the Commission and the EIB to discuss whether it would be useful to incorporate NPB expertise into the SB;

Investment platforms

29.  Recalls that diversified investments with a geographical or thematic focus should be made possible by helping to finance and bundle projects and funds from different sources; notes with concern that the first investment platform was only set up in the third quarter of 2016 and that the delay in doing so is hampering the opportunity for small-scale projects to benefit from EFSI and the development of cross-border projects; highlights the need to simplify the rules for establishing investment platforms; requests that the EIB and the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) promote the use of investment platforms as a way of achieving the geographical and thematic diversification of investments;

30.  Urges the EFSI governing bodies to pay greater attention to investment platforms with a view to maximising the benefits that the latter can bring in overcoming investment barriers, especially in Member States with less developed financial markets; invites the EIB to provide stakeholders, including national, local and regional bodies, with more information on the platforms and the conditions and criteria governing their establishment; recognises the role of local and regional authorities in identifying strategic projects and encouraging participation;

31.  Proposes a discussion of additional means of promoting investment platforms, such as by prioritising the approval of projects presented via a platform, the pooling of smaller projects and group contracts and establishing mechanisms to finance groupings of contracts; believes that transnational platforms should be promoted in particular, as many energy and digital projects have a transnational dimension;

Financial instruments

32.  Recalls that the EIB has developed new financial instruments for the purposes of EFSI in order to provide tailor-made products for high-risk financing; urges the EIB to further increase its added value by focusing on riskier financial products such as subordinated finance and capital market instruments; expresses concerns about project promoters’ criticisms that the financing instruments provided are not compatible with their projects’ needs (high‑risk projects often need money upfront to kick-start investments, and not in smaller amounts on a year‑by‑year basis) and investors stressing that they are currently not in a position to participate in EFSI financing due to a lack of appropriate private equity instruments; invites the EIB to examine this in cooperation with project promoters and investors; invites the EIB, furthermore, to explore how the development of green bonds can maximise the potential of EFSI in the financing of projects which have positive environmental and/or climate benefits;

Geographical diversification

33.  Welcomes that by the end of 2016 all 28 countries had received EFSI funding; notes with concern, however, that as of 30 June 2016, the EU‑15 had received 91 % whereas the EU‑13 had only received 9 % of EFSI support; regrets that EFSI support has mainly benefited a limited number of countries where the investment gaps are already below the EU average; notes that within beneficiary countries, there is often an unequal geographical distribution of EFSI-funded projects; considers there is a risk of territorial concentration and underlines the need for greater attention to be paid to less developed regions across all 28 Member States; calls on the EIB to provide further technical assistance to those countries and regions which have benefited less from EFSI;

34.  Acknowledges that GDP and the number of projects approved are linked; recognises that larger Member States are able to take advantage of more developed capital markets and are therefore more likely to benefit from a market-driven instrument such as EFSI; underlines that lower EFSI support in the EU‑13 may be attributable to other factors, such as the small size of projects, the peripheral geographical position of a given region and competition from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds); observes with concern, however, the disproportionate benefit to certain countries and underlines the need to diversify geographical distribution further, especially in crucial sectors such as modernising and improving the productivity and sustainability of economies, with a key focus on technological development; asks the Commission to further investigate and map out the reasons for the current geographical distribution;

European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH)

35.  Attaches the utmost importance to the operation of the EIAH; considers that its mission to act as a single point of entry to comprehensive advisory and technical assistance throughout all stages of the project cycle largely responds to the growing need for technical assistance support among authorities and project promoters;

36.  Is pleased that the EIAH has been up and running since September 2015, moving through a quick implementation phase; acknowledges that, due to the limited period of its existence and a shortage of staff at the initial stage, not all EIAH services have been fully developed and that activity has predominantly focused on providing support for project development and structuring, policy advice, and project screening; underlines the need for the EIAH to recruit experts from various areas in an effort to better target its advice, communication and support towards the sectors which do not use EFSI to the fullest extent;

37.  Is convinced that the EIAH has the potential to play an instrumental role in addressing many of the shortcomings of EFSI implementation; believes strongly that, in order to do so, it needs to adopt a more proactive stance in providing assistance in fields such as setting up investment platforms, also in view of the latter’s importance in the financing of smaller projects; stresses also the role of the EIAH in providing advice combining other sources of Union funding with EFSI;

38.  Considers, similarly, that the EIAH can actively contribute towards geographical and sectoral diversification, not only by covering all regions and more sectors in the provision of its services, but also by assisting the EIB in launching operations; believes that the EIAH can play an important role in contributing to the objective of economic, social and territorial cohesion;

39.  Recalls that the EFSI Regulation confers a mandate on the EIAH to leverage local knowledge with a view to facilitating EFSI support across the Union; believes that significant improvements are needed in this area, notably more cooperation with the appropriate national institutions; attaches great importance to the provision of services at local level, also in order to take account of specific situations and local needs, especially in countries that do not have experienced National Promotional Institutions (NPIs) or NPBs; considers that links with other local providers should be enhanced to take this into account;

40.  Expects the EIAH to conclude its recruitment processes and reach its full staffing levels without further delay; expresses doubts, however, that the staff capacity provided for will be sufficient for the EIAH to provide the required advisory services and to cope with an increased workload, as well as a broader mandate;

41.  Stresses that the EIAH needs to enhance the profile of its services, improve communication and raise awareness and understanding of its activities amongst EIAH stakeholders; considers that all relevant communication channels should be deployed to achieve this purpose, including at national and local level;

European Investment Project Portal (EIPP)

42.  Regrets that the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) was only launched by the Commission on 1 June 2016, almost a year after the adoption of the EFSI Regulation; notes that the portal is now operational, with 139 projects currently displayed, but considers that this is still very far from the potential expected when the EFSI Regulation was adopted;

43.  Considers that the EIPP provides a user-friendly platform for project promoters to boost the visibility of their investment projects in a transparent manner; believes, however, that the key to the success of the portal is to increase its own visibility significantly, in order to achieve common acknowledgement as a useful, reliable and efficient tool both among investors and project promoters; urges the Commission to work actively in this direction through solid communication activities;

44.  Notes that the costs related to the set-up and development, management, support and maintenance, and hosting of the EIPP are currently covered by the EU budget, within the annual allocation of EUR 20 million provided for for the EIAH; recalls, however, that the fees charged to private project promoters registering their project on the portal shall constitute external assigned revenue for the EIPP and in the future will be its main source of financing;

Guarantee

45.  Recalls that the Union provides an irrevocable and unconditional guarantee to the EIB for financing and investment operations under EFSI; is convinced that the EU Guarantee has enabled the EIB to take on higher risk for the Infrastructure and Investment Window (IIW) and has permitted the financing of SMEs, mid-caps under COSME and InnovFin supported by the SME Window (SMEW) to be enhanced and frontloaded; believes that the threshold of EUR 25 million, that seems to be used by the EIB for its normal lending operations, should not be applicable to EFSI, in order to increase the financing of smaller projects and facilitate access for SMEs and other potential beneficiaries;

46.  Stresses that, due to a very strong uptake reflecting the high market demand, the SME Window was further reinforced by EUR 500 million from the IIW Debt Portfolio under the existing legislative framework; welcomes that, due to the flexibility of the EFSI Regulation, the additional financing was granted to benefit SMEs and small mid-caps; intends to monitor closely the allocation of the guarantee under the two windows; notes further that, as of 30 June 2016, signed operations under the IIW reached only 9 % of the total targeted volume;

47.  Recalls that the EU Guarantee Fund is predominantly funded from the EU budget; takes account of all relevant evaluations suggesting that the current provisioning rate of the Guarantee Fund of 50 % appears to be cautious and prudent in terms of covering potential losses and that the Union budget would already be shielded by an adjusted target rate of 35 %; intends to examine whether proposals for a lower target rate would have repercussions on the quality and nature of the projects selected; stresses that, so far, there have been no calls as a result of defaults of EIB or EIF operations;

Future financing, fund capacity

48.  Notes that the Commission has proposed an extension of EFSI, both in terms of duration and financial capacity, and that this would have an impact on the EU budget; expresses its intention to put forward alternative financing proposals;

49.  Recalls that Member States were invited to contribute to EFSI in order to broaden its capacity, thereby enabling it to support more higher-risk investments; regrets that despite such investment being considered as a one-off measure within the meaning of Article 5 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 of 7 July 1997 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary provisions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies(8) and Article 3 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1467/97 of 7 July 1997 on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure(9) , Member States did not take this initiative; requests information from the EIB and the Commission as to whether they have undertaken efforts in the meantime to convince Member States to contribute to EFSI, and whether they might be able to attract other investors; invites the Commission and the EIB to step up their efforts in this direction;

Complementarities with other EU financing sources

50.  Notes that awareness of overlaps and competition between EFSI and financial instruments of the EU budget on the part of the Commission and the EIB has led to the adoption of guidelines recommending the combination of EFSI and ESI Fund financing; underlines that any combination of EFSI and ESI Fund financing should in no way prove detrimental to the level and orientation of ESI Fund grant financing; points, however, to persistent differences in the eligibility criteria, regulations, timeframe for reporting and the application of state aid rules, which hinder combined usage; welcomes the fact that the Commission has begun to address these in its proposal for a revision of the Financial Regulation and hopes this revision will be performed in a timely manner so as to simplify the combination of financing and avoid competition and overlaps; believes that further efforts are required and that the second and third pillars of the investment plan are key to this end;

51.  Suggests that the Commission should, in its regular reports, list the projects that benefit from blending Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) grants with EFSI;

52.  Notes that public-private partnership (PPP) transport infrastructure projects should normally be based on the user-pays principle in order to reduce the burden imposed on public budgets and taxpayers for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure; notes that it is important to coordinate various types of EU funding in order to ensure that EU transport policy objectives are met across the entire EU, and not to promote PPP-type funds at the expense of Structural Funds;

Taxation

53.  Is deeply concerned that, in some cases, the EIB has been pushing via EFSI to support projects that have been structured using firms in tax havens; urges the EIB and the EIF to refrain from making use of or engaging in tax avoidance structures, in particular aggressive tax planning schemes, or practices which do not comply with EU good governance principles on taxation, as set out in the relevant Union legislation, including Commission recommendations and communications; insists that no project or promoter can be dependent on a person or company operating in a country included on the prospective common EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions;

Communication and visibility

54.  Observes that many project promoters are not aware of the existence of EFSI, or have an insufficiently clear picture of what EFSI can offer them, the specific eligibility criteria and the concrete steps to take when applying for financing; underlines that further efforts, including targeted technical support, in their respective EU language, in Member States that have benefited less from EFSI, , have to be made to raise awareness of what EFSI is, which specific products and services it has to offer and of the roles of investment platforms and NPBs;

55.  Calls for all information material and all material pertaining to the financing procedure to be translated into all the languages of the Member States, in order to facilitate information and access at local level;

56.  Expresses concern that the direct support given to financial intermediaries, which are then responsible for the allocation of EU financing, might lead to situations in which the end beneficiary is not aware of benefiting from EFSI financing and calls for solutions to be found to improve EFSI’s visibility; calls, therefore, on the EIB to include in EFSI contracts a specific clause making it clear to the project promoter that the financing received has been made possible by the EFSI/EU budget;

Extension

57.  Acknowledges that EFSI alone – and on a limited scale – will probably not be able to close the investment gap in Europe, but that it nevertheless constitutes a central pillar of the EU’s investment plan and signals the EU’s determination to tackle this issue; calls for further proposals to be made on how to permanently boost investment in Europe;

o
o   o

58.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Investment Bank and the parliaments and governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, p. 1.
(2) http://www.eib.org/attachments/strategies/efsi_2015_report_ep_council_en.pdf
(3) http://www.eib.org/attachments/ev/ev_evaluation_efsi_en.pdf, September 2016
(4) Report of 14 November 2016, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/ey-report-on-efsi_en.pdf
(5) OJ C 465, 13.12.2016, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 268, 14.8.2015, p. 27.
(7) OJ C 195, 12.6.2015, p. 41.
(8) OJ L 209, 2.8.1997, p. 1.
(9) OJ L 209, 2.8.1997, p. 6.

Last updated: 13 February 2018Legal notice