Today Slovakia announced that it will contribute €400 million to projects benefiting from finance by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), at the heart of the €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe. Slovakia is the seventh country to contribute to the Plan, even before the EFSI becomes operational, after Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Poland. The contribution will come via Slovenský Investičný Holding and Slovenská Záručná a Rozvojová Banka, Slovakia's National Promotional Banks. Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, was in Bratislava as part of the Investment Plan roadshow and received the news in person from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Peter Kazimir.
Vice-President Katainen said: "I am very glad to be here in Bratislava for the announcement that Slovakia will contribute to the Investment Plan. Two weeks ago we reached the political agreement on the EFSI Regulation, with Finance Ministers expected to formally approve it this Friday, and the European Parliament will take its final vote next week. Less than seven months after the Investment Plan got underway I now look forward to seeing the concrete results in the coming weeks – as I know our European citizens do as well."
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for Energy Union said: "I welcome the decision of the Slovak Government to announce the contribution to the Investment Plan for Europe at the level of projects. Slovakia has the stable environment to invest: the Investment Plan brings great opportunities to businesses and public-private partnerships, notably in the fields of energy efficiency and infrastructure, be it energy, transport or digital".
On 28 May, just four and a half months after the Commission adopted the legislative proposal on 13 January, EU legislators reached a political agreement on the Regulation for European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Member States unanimously endorsed it on 10 March and the European Parliament voted in committee on 20 April. Finance Ministers are now expected to approve the Regulation at the ECOFIN Council on 19 June, and the European Parliament plenary vote on the Regulation is now expected to take place on 24 June, allowing the EFSI to be operational by September as planned.
In line with the European Council conclusions of December 2014, which invited the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group to "start activities by using its own funds as of January 2015", the EIB has already announced several projects to be pre-financed in the context of the Investment Plan for Europe, in which it is the Commission's strategic partner.
National Promotional Banks have a crucial role to play in getting Europe investing again. They have the expertise to carry out the Investment Plan, and they often ensure the most efficient use of public resources. Slovakia is now the seventh country to announce a contribution through its National Promotional Bank: Germany announced in February that it would contribute €8 billion to the Investment Plan through KfW. Also in February, Spain announced a €1.5 billion contribution through Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO). In March, France announced a €8 billion pledge through Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) and Bpifrance (BPI) and Italy announced it will contribute €8 billion via Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). In April Luxembourg announced that it will contribute €80 million via Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI), and Poland announced that it will contribute €8bn via Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK).
The economic crisis brought about a sharp reduction of investment across Europe. That is why collective and coordinated efforts at European level are needed to reverse this downward trend and put Europe on the path of economic recovery. Adequate levels of resources are available and need to be mobilised across the EU in support of investment. There is no single, simple answer, no growth button that can be pushed, and no one-size-fits-all solution. The Commission is setting out an approach based on three pillars: structural reforms to put Europe on a new growth path; fiscal responsibility to restore the soundness of public finances and cement financial stability; and investment to kick-start growth and sustain it over time. The Investment Plan for Europe is at the heart of this strategy.