Published: Wed, 24 June 2015
The European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) represents a significant opportunity for Ireland’s continued economic recovery, according to Seán Kelly MEP. The so-called “Juncker Plan” aims to stimulate investment into strategic European projects by unlocking at least EUR 315 bn in additional investment over the next three years, backed by an EU guarantee of €16 bn. Speaking in Brussels this evening (Wednesday) ahead of a European Parliament vote that will ratify EFSI, the Fine Gael MEP said that this fund will prove to be “vital in supporting economic growth, creating jobs and stimulating recovery right across Europe”.
“Without doubt there is an investment gap at the moment – we still stand at 15% below the levels we had before the 2008 downturn in this regard. EFSI will provide badly needed risk financing, support projects that have a higher risk profile, and thus create a better climate for investment in Europe.”
The fund’s launch is said to be particularly good news for SMEs with €70bn of the €315bn set to be dedicated for investment into small and medium sized businesses. “The EFSI will assist those projects that would otherwise not have been able to find investors due to the risk factor involved. Now, with the financial guarantee that EFSI provides, there will be financing for our SMEs, which are our most innovative companies and the ones that have the biggest potential to create jobs – already employing 99% of our workforce. It is a great opportunity for Irish companies to get that financial backing that just wasn’t available until now.”
The Ireland South MEP added that the fund will also help the EU to reach its key policy objectives in priority areas such as renewable energy and energy efficiency which are expected to be key beneficiaries.
“We urgently need to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels in the energy sector; this new EU fund can ensure green projects that are currently perceived as being overly risky are funded in future”, Mr Kelly concluded.