European Parliament supports EFSI, but proposes alternative funding sources
At its meeting on Monday, 20 April 2015, the European Parliament's Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees supported the Strategic Investment Plan (EFSI). However, MEPs contested plans to feed the fund from the EU research and transport investment budgets, and called for more parliamentary control over its leadership and goals.
The report, drawn up by José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT) for the Budgets Committee and Udo Bullmann (S&D, DE) for the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, changes the following key points in the European Commission proposal:
To protect EU budget investments earmarked for research and transport, the Commission should find alternative resources to finance the guarantee fund. The fund should be gradually filled via the annual budgetary procedure until it reaches €8 billion by 2022. The guarantee itself should be "irrevocable and unconditional", so as to reassure investors.
Projects financed or guaranteed by EFSI should be economically viable, reflect EU priorities, be ineligible for EU budget or European Investment Bank (EIB) finance, and have a higher risk profile than those that could be financed by the EIB.
The fund’s investment committee should have eight members to reflect the EU’s geographical diversity and provide the widest possible range of expertise. Parliament should approve both this panel and the proposed managing director, whom it is entitled to hear along with the chair of the steering board. The steering board should have four members.
Third parties wishing to finance EFSI should not be guaranteed membership in the steering board.
The fund’s operations should be audited by the European Court of Auditors and should be subject to an annual vetting by Parliament. To assess how well the investment plan does at macroeconomic level, MEPs would like to see a scoreboard.
As a next step, negotiations with the Council are due to start on 23 April, with the aim of establishing a compromise to be voted by Parliament as a whole in June, so as to have the EFSI up and running by mid-2015, in line with the Commission's plan.TOP