EU's Juncker Plan to spur investments exceeds target

NEWS 18.07.2018 21:49
Source: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

The European Commission said on Wednesday that the original target of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan - which earmarked €222 million for Croatia, which is expected to trigger €890 million in investment - had been exceeded.

Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Finland top the list in terms of the amount of investments mobilised from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in relation to their GDP.

Croatia is ranked 16th among the 28 member-countries, with €222 million approved, which is expected to mobilise investments worth €890 million.

Backed by a budget guarantee from the European Union and own resources from the European Investment Bank Group, 898 operations have been approved, which are expected to trigger €335 billion in investment across the 28 EU member states.

This is more than the original goal of €315 billion set in 2015 when EFSI was launched, which helped close the investment gap left as a result of the financial and economic crisis. Some 700,000 small and medium-sized companies are set to benefit from improved access to finance, the European Commission said.

Given EFSI’s success, the European Council and the European Parliament agreed last year to extend its duration and capacity to €500 billion by end of 2020.

“The Juncker Plan has proven to be a success. We surpassed the original €315 billion investment target and the European Fund for Strategic Investments is set to create 1.4 million jobs and increase EU GDP by 1.3 percent by 2020. We have financed projects which without the EFSI would not have been possible, and all without creating new debt: two thirds of the investment comes from the private sector. From financing job-training for refugees in Finland to renewable energy in Greece to farming in Bulgaria – we will continue to use the EU budget for what it does best: to catalyse growth,” President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said.

Measured against the size of the economy, the biggest impact is in countries that were hard hit by the 2008 crisis, such as Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. While the direct investment impact is particularly high in those countries, the calculations found that cohesion regions (mostly Eastern European countries) are likely to benefit more from its long-term effect, the EC said.

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