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Amended Juncker plan approved by European Parliament

The European Parliament has approved a €315 billion 'Juncker plan' to boost private investment in European infrastructure projects. 26 Jun 2015

The Juncker plan, named after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, aims to establish a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) made up of €5bn capital from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a €16bn guarantee fund. The guarantee fund is to receive €8bn from the EU budget, out of which the EIB may be paid in the event of a call on the guarantee.

This fund will be used to trigger private investment worth an estimated €315bn over three years, the Parliament said.

The Parliament made some changes to the plan, including reducing the amount of funding that will be taken from the EU's Horizon2020 research and innovation programme and from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which aims to link Europe's energy, transport and digital networks, it said. The two programmes will now contribute €2.2bn and €2.8bn respectively, €500 million each less than was originally proposed, the Parliament said.

The Parliament also asked for the right to approve the managing director and deputy managing director of the fund, and insisted that the list of approved projects must be made public, it said. A set of project selection criteria should also be drawn up to ensure the projects chosen are "in line with the general priorities of the Union", it said.

Budget committee member José Manuel Fernandes said: "The Juncker plan is an innovative instrument that will give a major boost to investment in Europe. €240 billion from the plan will go to investments, and €75 billion will go to the backbone of our economy: the small and medium-sized enterprises that provide two thirds of private sector jobs and make up 99% of businesses in Europe. Politicians don't create jobs, but we can help those who do".

China is expect to make an announcement about investing in the EFSI at an EU-China summit in Brussels at the end of June.

The Council of Ministers will now be asked to approve the rules. The Council gave provisional agreement on 9 June and is expected to give its final written approval soon, the Parliament said.

The Juncker plan regulation will come into force at the start of July, and the fund is expected to be fully operational by September, it said.

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