‘Investment Plan for Europe - are we there yet?', panel debate hosted by BusinessEurope, on Monday, 28 November 2016
David Rinaldi, Research Fellow at CEPS
MARKUS J. BEYRER, Director General of BusinessEurope
MERCEDES BRESSO, Member of the European Parliament (tbc)
ALBERTO MAZZOLA, International Affairs Senior Vice President, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and EESC rapporteur for the EFSI extension
WILHELM MOLTERER, Managing Director of the European Fund for Strategic Investment
PER THIESEN, Executive Vice President & CFOO, Terma - aerospace, defense and security
While investment is slowly picking up, it remains far below what the European economy needs. The Investment Plan for Europe, which was launched in 2014, was a major initiative. The main aim of this event was to evaluate its results.
Investment remains below pre-crisis levels and the investment gap continues to be wide.
The European Fund for Strategic Investment is proving to be a good tool.
Businesses still face significant barriers to investment and the single market remains fragmented.
Speakers agreed on the importance of the Investment Plan for Europe and that it remains an important issue. The initial results of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) are promising and it should be extended, possibly beyond 2020. However, the EFSI is only a tool and it should not replace policy frameworks which can lead to structural improvements at the national and regional level.
The speakers underlined the need for the new EFSI (dubbed ‘EFSI 2.0’) to continue to be based on the marketplace, which is “key for its success”, according to W.Molterer, EFSI’s Managing Director. They also agreed that sectoral or geographical quotas should therefore be ruled out and the way in which the EFSI is carried out should continue to be simple. They also referred to the need for cooperation in order to collectively boost investment. MEP Mercedes Bresso said that, "if we want to relaunch investment we need the private and public sector working together".
Speakers highlighted that there are still several barriers to investment in Europe, which are preventing companies from investing in and going to other parts of the EU. Markus J. Beyrer, the Director General of BusinessEurope, emphasised: “Uncertainty is a reason behind weak investment, but it is not the whole story. A lot of it is structural. We have too many real barriers and fragmentation in the single market.”