EFSI stands for European Fund for Strategic Investments. Better known as the ‘Juncker Plan’
But what else can you expect from the EPP, Juncker’s own party, that catapulted him in the Commission President’s Chair two years ago.
N. Peter Kramer
This week in Strasbourg, the European Parliament came up with quite mixed opinions about results of the plan sofar. The European Peoples Party (EPP) was convinced that ‘the EFSI has proved to be succesful in its first year of operation, boosting investments in the EU and strengthening confidence, growth and jobs’. EPP MEP Othmar Karas said that ‘the start of EFSI was a great success!’. But what else can you expect from the EPP, Juncker’s own party, that catapulted him in the Commission President’s Chair two years ago.
The President of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) into the EP, Gianni Pitella, was less enthusiastic and called on the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to take greater risks in order to boost the investment plan. ‘Some major results have been achieved but we can and should do more’. He also warned that the financing of the plan has to be additive and not a substitute. Pitella suggested that the Commission is using financing via already existing funds instead of using ‘new money’.
The European Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), the 4th biggest group in the EP, urged the Commission to further improve the working of the EFSI and to focus the fund more on the most innovative projects. It is ‘too early to call the Juncker Plan failure or success, but it is clear that quality of projects needs improvement’, said ALDE Vice-President Pavel Telicka. He also urged the Commission not to finance the EFSI projects with financial tools of the Connected European Facility or Horizon 2020.
It was a difficult day in the EP for Jyrki Tapani Katainen, European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, who is responsible for the Juncker Plan. The Greek MEP and Vice-President of the EP, Dimitros Papadimoulis, called the Commissioner ‘self-satisfied’ and blamed him for the unbalanced nature of investment. ‘The Juncker Plan has to be focussed on creating greater investment throughout Europe but particularly where there is the greatest poverty, the greatest unemployment and the greatest lack of investment’.
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