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European Commission

Press Release

Brussels, 25 October 2012

Commission announces new initiatives to boost private investment in the Neighbourhood

Two new initiatives to boost private investment in the Neighbourhood region were presented today at the Strategic Board meeting of the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) in Brussels:

  • The Investment Security in the Mediterranean Region (ISMED) Support Programme will be implemented together with the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and aims to enhance investment security in the Mediterranean region. The programme will carry out assessments to evaluate the level of investment protection provided by the local authorities, identify gaps and make recommendations to address them. €1.5 million are foreseen for this programme.

  • The ISMED Risk and Cost Sharing Toolkit of the NIF will provide targeted measures like support to risk-sharing mechanisms (making funds available to help private investors by reducing their exposure to risk) and guarantee schemes addressing risk as a major obstacle for private investments. A sizeable part of the €220 million EU grants expected to be available to the Neighbourhood Investment facility until the end of 2013 will serve to underpin this important initiative.

This could leverage resources from European Public Finance Institutions and private investors of at least €2 billion for different infrastructure projects in the Neighbourhood region.

EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, said: "I welcome the ISMED Support Programme as a concrete example of our good cooperation with the OECD and I am very glad that today we are launching a new toolkit under the Neighbourhood Investment Facility to support private investments in the entire Neighbourhood region. These innovative tools are designed to help our partner countries to attract much needed investments from the private sector for large infrastructure projects more effectively. This should have a positive impact on growth, jobs and the daily life of people in the region. "

Background

The Strategic Board of the Neighbourhood Investment Facility consists of the European External Action Service, the European Commission and Member States. Neighbourhood Partner Countries and European Public Finance Institutions attend as observers.

Neighbourhood Investment Facility

Officially launched in May 2008, the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) is an innovative financial instrument of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), whose primary objective is to finance with a mix of grants and loans key infrastructure projects in the transport, energy, social and environment sectors, as well as to support private sector development (in particular SMEs) in the Neighbourhood Region.

Financing and implementing large infrastructure projects requires considerable financial resources. The NIF is aimed at creating a ‘partnership’, pooling together grant resources from the EU Budget and the EU Member States and using them to leverage loans from European Finance Institutions as well as own contributions from the ENP partner countries. Accordingly, to receive a grant contribution from the NIF, a project must be financed by an eligible European Finance Institution.

Since it was set up in 2008 the Facility has made available almost €600 million for important investment projects in EU Partner Countries. Blended with loans from European public finance institutions of about €8 billion, this strategic use of EU grants has unlocked a total project financing of at least €18 billion for EU development objectives. Until today most of the support from the NIF was made to public investments.

For more information

Website of the DG Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/fule/index_en.htm

Website of the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (also projects financed by the Facility):

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/neighbourhood/regional-cooperation/irc/investment_en.htm

Contacts:

Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84);

Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)


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