EU Council approves EFSI extension

On 8 November 2017, EU ambassadors endorsed, on behalf of the Council, an agreement with the European Parliament on an extension to the European fund for strategic investments (EFSI). This enables the extension of EU’s investment plan for Europe in terms of both duration and financial capacity.
The aim is to mobilise at least EUR 500 billion of additional investments by 2020.
“Investment conditions have improved in Europe but investment rates are still below pre-crisis levels. With a bigger and more effective fund, we will be able to boost investment and strengthen the prospects for growth in the longer term,” said Toomas Tõniste, minister for finance of Estonia, which currently holds the Council presidency.
Provisional agreement with the Parliament was reached on 26 October 2017. The Parliament is now expected to approve the regulation at first reading. The text will then be submitted to the Council for adoption.
With the EFSI already delivering on its objectives, the draft regulation extends it so as to attract as much private investment as possible.
The draft regulation extends the fund’s lifespan until 31 December 2020 and raises the investment target to EUR 500 billion. It increases the EU budget guarantee to EUR 26 billion (of which EUR 16 billion will be available for guarantee calls until mid-2018) and increases the European Investment Bank’s contribution to EUR 7.5 billion (from EUR 5 billion currently).
Established in mid-2015, the fund is on track for attaining its initial EUR 315 billion target in additional investments by mid-2018. For SMEs, it is delivering well beyond expectations.

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