European Fund for Strategic Investments
Published: 2 March 2015
Policies & Issues: R&D and Innovation
As specified in our letter addressed to European Commission President Mr. Juncker, Orgalime welcomes the idea to kick-start the economic recovery of Europe with a €315 billion investment plan co-funded by the EU. As part of the plan, we understand that the proposed Regulation on the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) plays a crucial role in guaranteeing the swift implementation of the programme.
However, we note with some reservations that the EFSI will be partially funded by reallocation money from existing EU programmes, notably €2.7 billion from Horizon 2020 and €3.3 billion of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). We question the proposed choice of sourcing funding from areas of in Horizon 2020 and CEF which create investment and growth, while other budget lines are bigger, have less of a multiplier effect and are not future oriented. We firmly believe that such a publicly co-funded plan must focus on the modernisation and completion of sustainable investments that will underpin the competitiveness of companies, develop jobs and growth in the economy. It is essential that the EU should be consistent in its approach if the aim really is to attract manufacturing investment back into the EU, thereby effectively contributing to the reindustrialisation of the EU.
While in our letter addressed to Commission President Mr. Juncker, Orgalime called that the plan should focus on the modernisation of essential high tech infrastructures (energy, broadband, safety and security, rail and harbour) as well as the development of business ecosystems which will strengthen Europe’s competence in industrial internet and related technologies, now that the Commission has decided to allocate EFSI funding to Research and Innovation, Orgalime calls on the European Institutions to ensure that the EFSI budget coming from Horizon 2020 goes to innovation and research investments and especially to the infrastructure needed to support the digitalisation of manufacturing. Similarly, we suggest that money taken from the Connecting Europe Facility should support digitalisation in the area of energy projects, and in particular the modernisation of energy networks and energy efficiency and smarter technologies in the areas of buildings, transport, energy and industry.
Other environmentally sustainable projects, such as for example the deployment of technologies to improve the efficiencies of Europe’s waste management infrastructures, could also tie in with the EU’s advanced manufacturing and energy agendas while at the same time support the EU’s resource efficiency policy.
Moreover, we call on policy makers to be fully transparent in the decision making process for allocating money and selecting projects.