After 57 hours of intense negotiations, José Manuel Fernandes MEP, the EPP Group’s main negotiator on the so-called Juncker Plan to re-launch investment in the European economy, has succeeded in reaching a deal which will now be voted on next June at a joint meeting of the Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs Committees and subsequently in plenary on 24 June.
The initial proposal was to take money from the Horizon 2020 Research Programme and the Connecting Europe Facility (the so-called big European transport networks), but EPP Group negotiators managed not to cut funds for research from the €5bn initially proposed to €2.8bn for the CEF, and €2.2bn cuts from Horizon 2020.
“The battle to keep the impact on these two programmes to a minimum will continue in the annual budget negotiations since the guarantee fund is established annually”, recalled José Manuel Fernandes.
“This plan is an opportunity to promote investment but it is also a challenge for the territories and for the beneficiaries. We will have €240bn for investments and €75bn for companies including small and medium-sized enterprises. We cannot waste this. This investment is additional, complementary, allowing the financing of projects that the current funds or the market do not endorse or finance”, he added.
“We need investments. The EPP Group has supported the Juncker Plan from the very beginning. We also tried to find financing sources that didn’t harm European programmes. The result is good but could have been much better if the Commission and the Council had contributed to the 2014-2020 MFF in order to achieve both scopes: an investment plan on one hand and the Horizon 2020 and CEF Programmes on the other, which are also very important investments for EU future”, stated Marian Jean Marinescu MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group responsible for budget and structural policies.
This is good news for Europe as the €8 billion will generate 15 times more private investment in the European economy.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 218 Members from 27 Member States