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Statement by Vice-President Olli Rehn following the political agreement on the EU-EIB Project Bonds Initiative

Brussels, 22 May 2012

I welcome the agreement today in the “trilogue” with the Parliament and Council on our proposal for the pilot phase of Project Bonds, which paves the way for the vote on 31 May. This is an important initiative that can contribute to strengthen our economy. Promoting public and private investment is indeed a cornerstone of our growth initiative.

The Project Bond Initiative by the EU and the EIB will support the financing of commercially viable infrastructure projects in the area of transport, energy and communications infrastructure. The main objective is to attract debt capital market financing at a time when these projects are heavily dependent on bank lending, which is hardly available with long-term maturities.

Already in its pilot phase, project bonds could unlock up to €4.6 billion of investment in infrastructure and innovation, based on the leveraging effect of €230 million from the EU budget.

Over the past two years, the Commission has put forward several ideas and initiatives to use public investment in a targeted manner to mobilize further private investment and to channel it to growth-enhancing projects and support green growth.

The Commission has also called Member States to commit a further 10 billion euros to the European Investment Bank to allow it to do more for growth and jobs. This could unleash many times that amount in new investment. Expanding EIB’s lending volume is a quick and effective way of channelling badly needed stimulus to the real economy.

The EU structural funds can also be used more effectively through limited risk-sharing with private investors.

Another important signal of Europe’s readiness to invest into job-rich, green growth, in innovation and re-industrialisation, would be an immediate agreement on our growth-focused budget for 2013, and an agreement by the end of the year on the Multi-annual Financial Framework for 2014-2020.