© Erick Nguyen

© Erick Nguyen

In November last year, the European Commission launched the blueprint for an Investment Plan which aims at mobilising at least €315 billion over the next three years.

The CPMR fully shares the European Commission’s analysis on the need to boost investment in Europe to create the right conditions for sustainable economic recovery, but it is also concerned about the consequences of the financial crisis on the territories, while disparities in development have widened between the centre of Europe and its periphery.

These concerns are summed up in a technical paper entitled “The investment plan: what’s in it for regions?” presented at the CPMR’s last Political Bureau meeting in Nantes (27 February 2015, Nantes-France), where delegates raised some key questions linked to the Juncker plan, although they greatly welcome its ambition and its proactive approach to reversing the downward trend of investments.

According to the CPMR members of the Political Bureau, the increased use of financial instruments as supported by the Juncker Plan should not undermine the key role of Cohesion Policy as the EU’s main investment instrument which has been the asserted aim of the European Commission since 2007. The CPMR believes that effective coordination between the implementation of the Juncker Plan and Cohesion Policy delivery is important, since they are additional and can be combined but not substituted. The deployment of such a significant envelope through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) must necessarily be based on a long-term policy vision to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and target sectors able to fulfil these.

Although some regions already resort to market instruments to support public investments, with a high degree of success, many regions are not in a position to rely on private-sector involvement. Therefore, such a variety of experiences between regions needs to be taken into account by the European institutions when it comes to the implementation of the Juncker Plan and consideration of how future EU intervention is conceived for the delivery of its public policies, particularly for the post-2020 period.