Early on Thursday morning after a long night of discussions, EU legislators successfully concluded negotiations on the Regulation for a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe. This means that the Fund will become operational and start financing projects at the end of the summer. The European Commission, represented last night by Vice-Presidents Georgieva and Katainen, acted as an honest broker and facilitator throughout the negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council. During last night's trilogue, the co-legislators agreed upon the final outstanding issues, including in particular the budgetary allocations to the EFSI guarantee fund, keeping to the ambitious timetable set out in January.
Vice-President Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "I'm very pleased that we reached an agreement this morning with co-legislators for EFSI. We are counting on Parliament and Council to give the final approval in June so we can have EFSI up and running in Autumn. And what's most important is to start boosting investment, jobs and growth in Europe."
Vice-President Georgieva, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, who also represented the Commission in the negotiations, said: "I am very happy and satisfied we reached a deal on EFSI after many hours of negotiation. This is an investment plan - underpinned by the EU budget - that benefits European people and businesses, supporting much needed growth and jobs. Let's get to work and implement this plan as quickly as possible."
The Commission adopted the legislative proposal for the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) on 13 January. 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.