ECOFIN agrees negotiating stance on EFSI
At the ECOFIN Council Meeting on 10 March 2015, EU Finance Ministers agreed ECOFIN's negotiating stance on the Commission's proposed regulation for setting up the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
Once the European Parliament has also agreed on its own negotiating stance, the current Latvian presidency, on behalf of the Council, can then start negotiations with the EP. The aim is for an overall agreement to be reached by June 2015, to enable new investments to begin as early as mid-2015.
In line with the Commission's proposal, the ECOFIN agreed that EU funding for the EFSI would mostly come by redeploying grants from Horizon 2020 and the Connecting Europe facility (transport, energy and digital networks), as well as unused margins in the budget. With regard to EFSI governance, the compromise agreed by the Council provides a two-tier structure consisting of a steering board for strategic governance and an independent investment committee for the selection of projects to receive EFSI funds. A European Investment Advisory Hub is due to be set up alongside the fund, to provide technical assistance to ensure projects are of high quality.
The Council agreement was welcomed by the European Commission. European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness stated that he congratulated the Latvian Presidency on "their speedy and skilful steering of negotiations in the Council" and emphasised that four member states have already committed to making a financial contribution to the EFSI.
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Photo: EC Vice-President Jyrki Katainen (by Council Secretariat)