Congratulations to Vice-President Jyrki Katainen for the new Commission's proposal on the InvestEU Programme adopted today.
This much-needed instrument builds on the Juncker Plan, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and efficiently addresses the issue of social investments.
The new instrument will now trigger €650 billion in additional investments over the 7 years of the next MFF and will concentrate on four windows of opportunity.
While I fully support the four windows of opportunities (sustainable infrastructure; research, innovation and digitalization; small and medium businesses as well as social investment and skills), I am particularly happy about the fourth one, for which the guarantee budget amounts to €4 billion.
This specific window makes justice of the excellent work undertaken by the High-Level Task Force on Investing in Social Infrastructure in Europe in 2017 and 2018, which was chaired by Romano Prodi and to which both Lieve Fransen and Gino Del Bufalo have massively contributed.
The "social investment and skills" window will now allow the financing of projects in crucial sectors such as skills, education, training, social housing, social innovation, integration of migrants, of refugees and of vulnerable people.
InvestEU Programme is a win-win exercise for the world of innovation, for the SMEs and for social investment.
I support the streamlining and simplifying exercise of a variety of existing financial instruments and also the Commission's effort for capitalising on local, national and EU wide expertise with the EIB as well as an increased role for the promotional banks.
Given the fact that in Europe – as highlighted by today's decision of the Commission – there is still a sizeable investment gap (the Infrastructure investment activities in the EU stood at 1,8% of EU GDP in 2016, down from 2,2% in 2009), it is clear that today's decision is an example of when and where Europe can make the difference!