Revision of the Regulation on the European Fund for Strategic Investments – towards an EFSI 2.0?

26-09-2016

After a year of implementation and in the absence of the comprehensive and independent evaluations of EFSI and its impacts determined by Regulation 2015/1017, it would be premature to draw firm conclusions based on the information currently available. On 14 September 2016, the European Commission published a proposal to double EFSI’s financial capacity and duration, together with a Communication on the second phase of the EFSI. The proposal indicates that an independent evaluation is ongoing and will be published in November 2016. In the meantime, some preliminary elements have emerged in the first reports on EFSI’s functioning to date. In terms of mobilisation of additional investments, EFSI appears to be a success, particularly as regards the SME-window, which has seen an uptake beyond initial expectations. On the other hand, EFSI’s current leverage effect appears slightly below the initial target (i.e. 13.3 instead of 15). Other specific issues still need to be addressed, such as the sectoral and geographical concentration of the first group of approved projects, the perceived limited additionality (in terms of risk) of EFSI projects when compared to traditional EIB funded initiatives, and how to best exploit synergies with other EU Funds. The text of the new proposal and the accompanying communication contain specific measures to tackle some of these questions.

After a year of implementation and in the absence of the comprehensive and independent evaluations of EFSI and its impacts determined by Regulation 2015/1017, it would be premature to draw firm conclusions based on the information currently available. On 14 September 2016, the European Commission published a proposal to double EFSI’s financial capacity and duration, together with a Communication on the second phase of the EFSI. The proposal indicates that an independent evaluation is ongoing and will be published in November 2016. In the meantime, some preliminary elements have emerged in the first reports on EFSI’s functioning to date. In terms of mobilisation of additional investments, EFSI appears to be a success, particularly as regards the SME-window, which has seen an uptake beyond initial expectations. On the other hand, EFSI’s current leverage effect appears slightly below the initial target (i.e. 13.3 instead of 15). Other specific issues still need to be addressed, such as the sectoral and geographical concentration of the first group of approved projects, the perceived limited additionality (in terms of risk) of EFSI projects when compared to traditional EIB funded initiatives, and how to best exploit synergies with other EU Funds. The text of the new proposal and the accompanying communication contain specific measures to tackle some of these questions.