European Parliament approves EFSI
At its plenary meeting on 24 June 2015, the European Parliament has approved the proposed European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). This approval was preceded by several months of negotiations between the Council and the Parliament on various issues involved, including amongst others the amount of funding to be taken from Horizon 2020 for financing the EFSI, and the governance of the fund. The original proposal on the EFSI had been presented by the European Commission as part of the Juncker Plan in November 2014. The EP approved the the EFSI rules by 464 votes to 131, with 19 abstentions.
With regard to Horizon 2020, the original EFSI proposal had provided cuts to the amount of € 2.7 billion. These were reduced, at the EP's insistence, to € 2.2 billion, with the remaining € 500 million due to be paid for out of unused budget margins of 2014 and 2015. The list of approved EFSI projects will be public.
Following the EP's vote, the Council of Ministers also needs to approve the EFSI proposal. The Council confirmed its provisional agreement with Parliament on 9 June and is expected to give its final approval in a written procedure soon. After that, the EFSI regulation enters into force in early July 2015. The EFSI is expected to be fully operational by September 2015.