10 Dec, 2020

The EU kicks off a better-connected Europe with InvestEU

Investing in the future to prepare the European economy for the post-COVID-19 crisis: this is one of the aims of the InvestEU programme, on which the European Council and the European Parliament have reached a political agreement. This follows tough negotiations, in which the Renew Europe Group played an active role, in particular when it came to ensuring strategic consistency with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

This new EU financial tool will provide a public guarantee over 26 billion euros, allowing to mobilise more than 400 billion euros for investment in key sectors such as sustainable infrastructure, research, innovation and digitisation. 30% of the projects must be used to improve the environment and the fight against climate change; a rate which must rise to 60% for sustainable infrastructure projects.

The Renew Europe Group fought for the introduction of the principle according to which any investment must avoid significant damage to the environment. The Group made a crucial contribution to the final compromise to ensure that SMEs will be at the heart of the InvestEU system.

EU Member States will indeed be able to use the public guarantee to provide capital support to their most solid SMEs, which have been temporarily weakened by the ongoing crisis, so that they can participate in investment projects.

The eligibility of vocational training for this new fund is another success for Renew Europe. The creation of InvestEU stems from the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, and it will take over from the Juncker Plan, which with a similar public guarantee managed to mobilise 514 billion euros over the period 2013-2020 allowing in particular access to high-speed internet for 20 million European households, the supply of renewable energies for 13.4 million others and the renovation or construction of 540,000 social housing units across the EU.

Nils Torvalds MEP (Svenska folkpartiet, Finland), shadow co-rapporteur of Renew Europe in the Parliamentary Committee on Budgets (BUDG), said: "The circumstances around InvestEU have changed a lot since the beginning of the work on this important programme. The European Green Deal changed the decision-making on investments and the COVID19-crisis did change the need for investments. Therefore, I am very happy that we have now finalised the negotiations and that we can get the much-needed investments moving from the beginning of 2021.

Especially important is that 30% of the investments mobilised will be for climate and environment. That will be key for the future and for the EU to achieve the targets set in this field." 

Torvalds concluded: "To the populists governments in Hungary and Poland, we say: this is serious, lots of jobs are at stake. Stop playing games and lift the veto to the EU budget."

Ondřej Kovařík MEP (ANO, Czech Republic), shadow co-rapporteur of Renew Europe in the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs (ECON), added: “I am particularly glad that after some tough negotiations we have ensured that there will be support in the form of strategic investment and capital support. These were key priorities for our group during the negotiations. SMEs will be at the forefront of the InvestEU agenda, where they can use EU funding as a launchpad into the world of market-based financing, and also to help them grow to their full potential and expand beyond across the single market”.

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