Today the European Parliament approved the regulation establishing the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) at the heart of President Juncker's EUR 315 billion investment plan. But critics say that the regulation lacks clear provisions for oversight of the fund and guidance for investments in green, sustainable and resource-efficient projects that are part of the fund's mandate.
At EUR 21 billion, the European Fund for Strategic Investments aims to leverage via the European Investment Bank (EIB) a total of EUR 315 billion in new projects by 2018. The fund should target projects with a higher risk profile than normal EIB investments and should as well increase lending for investments with so-called "European added-value" – projects with European relevance which go beyond what Member States can achieve individually.
Markus Trilling, EU funds campaigner for Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The EFSI is an example of how the EU budget is being used to guarantee safe investments for the private sector while the public bears the risk. To increase the effectiveness of the investment fund and make sure it invests in projects that are future proof, the EIB needs a climate policy to guide its action on green energy. Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources is where the smart money is at."
The fund's regulation doesn't include the necessary accountability mechanisms towards Europeans and the Parliament. Technocrats will decide which projects to support and these will have significant impacts on people and their environment."
Xavier Sol, Counter Balance director said: "President Juncker promised targeted investments into sustainable sectors that could create jobs, but in the text approved today there is nothing that can guarantee this. The regulation we have now is a blank cheque for the European Investment Bank to carry on with business as usual."