junckerThe European Commission should develop a long-term European strategy for investment combining the joint strengths of Cohesion Policy and the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), says the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR).

The decision to double the financial capacity of the EFSI was announced today by Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his State of the Union address. The Commission also intends to continue supporting strategic investment after 2020.

The CPMR has welcomed the Commission’s aim for the extended EFSI to support European projects that would not otherwise have been funded, along with its plans to make it easier for Europe’s less developed Regions to access funding.

However, the organisation has stressed that the EFSI must not be used as a substitute for Cohesion Policy, which is a cornerstone of EU policy making, building partnerships and reinforcing economic, social and territorial cohesion across all Regions throughout Europe.

CPMR President, Vasco Cordeiro, said: “This is a positive move from the Commission, but the EFSI is not sufficient to fully tackle the range of issues affecting Europe. A European plan for investment that is truly integrated, and will tackle regional disparities of income, wealth and opportunities, must combine the strengths of Cohesion Policy and the potential of the EFSI for strategic investments. What’s more, EU strategic investments should be linked to European priorities, such as the maritime economy, which is a fast growing, strong economic sector.”

The CPMR has also welcomed the Commission’s decision to set up a new a new European External Investment Plan (EIP) to encourage investment in the EU Neighbourhood and Africa, boosting growth and business opportunities and creating long-term prospects for these countries. However, the organisation has advised that if the EIP is to work effectively it must be run in cooperation with Local and Regional Authorities.