The Juncker Plan at work: bringing investment back on track in Europe

Juncker EU

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission at the continuation of the Weekly Commission College Meeting.© European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


In a Communication published today, the Commission reveals how the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – has helped bring investment back to a sustainable level in Europe, four years after its launch.

The Investment Plan has exceeded its initial target and expectations and has now mobilised €360 billion worth of investments, two-thirds of which come from private resources. Thanks to the backing of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), 850,000 small and medium businesses are set to benefit from improved access to finance. Estimates show that the EFSI has already supported more than 750,000 jobs, while 1.4 million jobs are set to be created by 2020, generating positive impact in millions of European homes.

The Juncker Plan has already increased EU GDP by 0.6%, a figure set to reach 1.3% by 2020. All Member States are benefiting, especially those who were hit the hardest by the crisis. Today, the EFSI’s successful model is becoming the new benchmark for EU-supported investments, both within and outside the EU, with the new InvestEU fund and the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument proposed by the Commission for the next long-term EU budget.

Commission Vice-President responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, said: “The Investment Plan has been a game-changer. After four years, this new and unique approach to mobilising private investment for the public good has brought €360 billion in fresh financing to the economy. We have also helped innovative projects get off the ground, and we have improved the investment environment in Europe. In the EU’s next long-term budget, we want to keep the momentum going, and ensure that the Investment Plan’s successful model becomes the new European standard for investment support.”

Indeed, the indisputable success of the Juncker Plan, beyond its investment dimension, also lies in its two other dimensions. The tailored support provided to hundreds of project promoters under the European Investment Advisory Hub, which has already dealt with 860 requests, and the European Investment Project Portal, which provides an easily accessible pipeline of mature projects for potential investors, are two important innovations in this context.

Efforts have also been made at the national as well as at the European level to remove barriers to investments and make Europe an even more attractive place for businesses to settle and thrive. In line with the objective of the Investment Plan and to improve further the investment environment in Europe, the Communication highlights the need for the following sustained and coordinated efforts:

  • Remove regulatory bottlenecks: The Commission has strived to facilitate cross border exchanges, provide greater regulatory predictability and open unprecedented investment opportunities under the Single Market Strategy, the Digital Single Market, the Capital Markets Union and the Energy Union. While taking stock today of the remaining barriers and opportunities under the Single Market in a separate Communication, the Commission also calls on the European Parliament and the Council to proceed swiftly with the adoption of the reforms identified under these four EU-wide strategies, such as the remaining building blocks of the Capital Markets Union.
  • Pursue business-friendly structural reforms: Under the European Semester, the Juncker Commission introduced a new approach based on a ‘virtuous triangle’ of structural reforms, investment and fiscal responsibility. This approach has delivered, with progress witnessed in all Member States, especially with regard to administration and business conditions. But a stronger push for the implementation of structural reforms is required in some countries, for example in the area of effective justice systems.

Both the 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) published yesterday in the context of the European Semester Autumn package and a Eurobarometer survey published today support the idea that more efforts are needed to remove barriers to investments in Europe. The AGS underlines how important it is to take advantage of sustained economic growth to implement national reforms for productivity growth, inclusiveness and institutional quality and to target investment gaps. The Eurobarometer shows that only some of the companies surveyed were able to make some or all of their desired investments, pointing to remaining regulatory barriers such as administrative burden.

The Commission’s proposal for the next long-term EU budget precisely aims to reinforce the position of the EU in the global economy as an attractive investment destination. The new InvestEU fund will build on the EFSI’s success and will aim to unlock an additional €650 billion of investments, while the Reform Support Programme will provide technical and financial support to Member States to carry out reforms. The Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to make progress on the next long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals.

Background

The Investment Plan for Europe, or Juncker Plan, was launched in November 2014 to reverse the downward trend of low-levels of investment and put Europe on the path to economic recovery. With its innovative approach to investment, the use of limited amounts of public resources with an EU budget guarantee to the European Investment Bank Group, substantial private and public funds have been and continue to be mobilised for investments across strategic sectors of the EU economy, such as infrastructure and housing, research and development, new technologies and production methods, education and skills and the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

In July 2018, the Juncker Plan exceeded its original investment target of €315 billion. 993 operations have now been approved under the EFSI, which are expected to trigger €360 billion in investment across the 28 EU Member States, with a €500 billion target by 2020.

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