Sonntag, 21. Oktober 2018

Investitionsflaute in Europa Warum Junckers Plan nicht aufgeht - und wie das zu ändern wäre

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

Im Juni 2015 trat der Investitionsplan für Europa in Kraft, besser bekannt als Juncker-Plan. Mit zusätzlich 315 Milliarden Euro aus Brüssel sollte das schwächelnde Wachstum in der EU angekurbelt werden. Warum die Bilanz nach einem Jahr enttäuschend ist und was passieren müsste, damit in Europa wieder mehr investiert wird, analysieren unsere Gastautoren vom Thinktank Bruegel in englischer Sprache.

The Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan, was approved in June 2015 and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) launched immediately after. The objective of the plan is to overcome the current lack of investment in the EU, but the initiative has got off to a disappointing start.

The main idea of the plan is to use the EU budget as a guarantee for EIB projects that would be riskier and more innovative than the usual EIB projects. These 'EFSI-labelled' projects should generate a total of €315 billion of additional investment over the next three years through leverage and co-financing.

The first issue is that, to achieve this, the plan foresees the EIB to disburse €60 billion into additional projects in three years. But since it got underway a year ago only €11.2 billion worth of projects have been approved, just over half of the target for the first year. The pace needs to pick up if Juncker's targets are to be met.

Gregory Claeys
  • Copyright: Bruegel
    Gregory Claeys ist Research Fellow beim wirtschaftspolitischen Thinktank Bruegel in Brüssel. Zudem lehrt er als Associate Professor Makroökonomie am Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. Geldpolitik und European Governance zählen zu seinen Arbeitsschwerpunkten.

Investment can only be increased by additional Projects

The second - and more important - issue is that the plan will only increase investment if it pushes the EIB to finance 'additional' valuable projects currently unable to secure funding, and to reduce the risks taken by private investors to increase the chances of attracting them. Besides, the resources used for the guarantee come from a reshuffling of the European Union budgets from 2015 to 2020 and are mainly taken from the research & innovation (R&I) and transport infrastructure budgets.

Álvaro Leandro
  • Copyright: Bruegel
    Álvaro Leandro ist Research Assistant beim wirtschafts-politischen Thinktank Bruegel in Brüssel. Zu seinen inhaltlichen Schwerpunkten zählen Europäische Makroökonomie sowie der internationale Finanzsektor. Zuvor arbeitete der promovierte Ökonom als Analyst der spanischen Bank La Caixa.

Given the opportunity costs arising from taking money from these programmes, using EU resources to guarantee some EIB projects is justified only if it leads to 'additional' EIB investment, in projects with a higher risk profile than the projects supported by EIB normal operations.

The best way to assess the 'additionality' of the projects would be to know the risk profile of each EFSI project, but this information is not available. An alternative, albeit imperfect, method to assess this is to use the descriptions of the projects to look for similar ventures financed by the EIB outside of the Investment Plan. Similarity and additionality are not exactly the same, but this gives us a good indication of how the EU guarantee has been used by the EIB.

Out of the 55 projects approved so far for which we have details, there is only one project for which we could not find any similar EIB projects: the ECOTITANIUM project, which involves the construction of the first European industrial plant to recycle and re-melt aviation-grade scrap titanium metal.

Apart from that, most EFSI projects appear similar to projects that the EIB has supported in the past without the EU budget guarantee: for example, five EFSI projects involve investment in motorways, and six projects involve wind farms. The EIB should continue to support projects like this, but it should not use the EU budget guarantee to do it.

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