It was the first European Council chaired by Donald Tusk as President and it followed a shorter format, a ‘1-day summit’. It allowed EU leaders to take clear decisions and set firmer orientations on:
Investing in Europe
EU leaders looked at ways of improving the investment environment in Europe and said that this improvement was needed to reinforce structural reforms and fiscal consolidation carried out by member states.
European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI)
They backed the creation of the European Fund for Strategic Investment, a €315 billion scheme unveiled by the European Commission in November.
EU leaders asked for fund to be up and running by June so that the first investment projects can be rolled out in mid-2015. They also came out in favour of creating an advisory ‘hub’ that would offer investors and public authorities guidance on investment projects.
The fund will be built on a €16 billion guarantee from the EU budget and €5 billion from the European Investment Bank.
Better investment climate in the EU
EU leaders called for quick action to improve ‘the regulatory environment for investment’:
- better integration of capital markets
- better regulation, i.e. simpler laws, whose impact is carefully measured
- better implementation and enforcement of EU laws, especially those related to the single market and investment
In relation to the development of the single market, EU leaders asked the Commission to table a proposal for a European energy union to connect networks across borders, improve Europe’s energy security and cut its emissions.
They also called for greater efforts to complete the internal market in products and services.
EU leaders said they would review the progress of investment-related initiatives at the upcoming meetings in March and June 2015.