Friday, 16 January 2015

Juncker-miracle with Horizon 2020 money ?


In November 2014 the European Commission unveiled a € 315 billion investment plan where € 21 billion EU-money hopefully will trigger other public and private contributions and in total provide 15 times as much capital. The new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) will serve as a credit protection for several new activities administrered by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EU money will consist of € 5 billion from the EIB and a € 8 billion guarantee from existing EU funds designed to secure a contribution of € 16 billion from the insitutions.

The € 8 billion guarantee will come over a three years period 2015-2015 from the Connecting Europe Facility programme  € 3.3 billion, from the Horizon 2020 programme € 2.7 billion and from unused funds € 2 billion.

The reactions to the proposal have been varied. The League of European Research Universities regrets "that money from Horizon 2020, the EU's successful research and innovation programme, will be diverted to the European Fund for Strategic Investment (within the European Investment Bank), for a vague and highly uncertain project ...". But the Commission argues that thanks to the new fund, the impact of Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon 2020 on the real economy will be multiplied. As a reference the Commission refers to the EU programme Cosme, where every EUR 1 bn of funding under the current Loan Guarantee Facility for SMEs results in at least EUR 20 bn capital for SMEs, the equivalent of a multiplier effect of 1:20.

The European Council approved the broad outline of Junckers plan in December 2014, but will wait for the details before committing national funds.

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