The Commission calls on the European Council, which will hold a meeting on 18-19 December, to approve the initiative, which is expected to draw in about 300 billion euros in private investment. In line with the proposal, the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) might be set up as early as next spring.
“… Europe needs a new approach to investment… we will set up a European Fund for Strategic Investment … [with] the aim to kick-start a string of public and private investment projects in Europe…,” the Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said while presenting the investment plan in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
The fund could raise private money, which would be used to finance a wide range of projects, he said, mentioning the examples of infrastructure for energy connections in Finland, Poland and the Baltic states.
“All projects have to be screened in light of their economic viability. The list published by the Task force on investments last week contains over 2000 examples. Obviously, not all of these are new, strategic and economically viable. Nevertheless, there are many interesting examples – like infrastructure for energy connections in Finland, Poland and the Baltic states…,” he said in a statement.
However, Žygimantas Mauricas, chief economist for Lithuania at Nordea, the biggest financial group in the Nordic and Baltic countries, is critical about the investment plan and believes that the model proposed by the Commission is not suitable for Lithuania.
“The principle is not suitable for all investments and all countries. It would be a challenge for Lithuania if it were to choose this path. In general, many of the projects mentioned in the plan are already being implemented or will be implemented without this investment plan. Then the question is how the private sector could contribute to them with its money,” he told BNS.
Public and private partnership (PPP) projects often got stalled or did not run smoothly hence the attempts to raise investment as proposed by the Commission might push up the costs of such projects and prolong their implementation, Mauricas said, adding that cooperation between the public and private sectors in Lithuania was slightly different.
In his view, the only projects, which might be financed in Lithuania from the new fund, could be the renovation of apartment buildings as well as specific projects, such as a petroleum product pipeline for Orlen Lietuva.
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