Published: Wed, 05 September 2018
MEP for Ireland South and Leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has been appointed as a key negotiator for the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament on the new InvestEU fund, which is expected to trigger more than €650 billion in additional investment across the EU over a 7-year period.
Speaking in Brussels today (Wednesday) Mr. Kelly, who will lead negotiations in the Parliament’s Committee which focuses on Industrial policies, spoke about the draft report he has tabled, and outlined where he believes the focus should be.
“InvestEU presents a fantastic opportunity to further increase investment across the EU, building on the success of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) which in July had mobilised an impressive €335 billion in additional investments. However, it is clear to me that the InvestEU, which can be considered the successor programme to EFSI, must put a greater emphasis on the need to fund our small and medium sized-businesses and start-ups than its predecessor.
“Business owners continue to face challenges in terms of getting access to finance. The business owners I meet daily tell me of the difficulties they have in getting their banks to finance their ambitions when they apply for loans.
“InvestEU establishes an EU loan guarantee, which will take some of the risk away from the banks and encourage them to lend. The EU puts money aside to guarantee these loans, enabling banks to be more confident in lending to our businesses. The fund is designed to get money flowing where it otherwise would not have.
“In my report, I am calling for the focus of InvestEU to be put firmly on small and medium businesses and start-ups, in order to accelerate digitisation, innovation and to encourage an entrepreneurial culture. Additionally, I want money to be used to help our small and medium businesses to better compete with cheaper competition around the world.
“These businesses are the backbone of our economy and we must ensure that they have access to finance so they can grow, develop and create employment.
“In the coming weeks and months, I will work with my fellow negotiators, the European Commission, the Council Presidency and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to reach a compromise on the legislation which will make this exciting new funding proposal ready to keep the investment flowing into EU businesses”, he concluded.
Mr. Kelly will host a public meeting on InvestEU in Tralee on the 12th of October to discuss the opportunities it presents for Irish business.