EU Budget (2021-2027) and current international affairs
Commission adopts more legislative sectoral programmes to be financed by the next long-term EU budget; Updates on Trade and Iran; Upcoming Austrian Presidency
Today's College meeting marked the continuation of the presentation of the legislative sectoral proposals for the programmes to be financed by the next long-term EU budget from 2021 to 2027.
InvestEU Programme to support jobs, growth and innovation in Europe
As a first initiative, the Commission proposed to create the InvestEU Programme, bringing EU budget financing in the form of loans and guarantees under one roof. InvestEU will bring together the multitude of financial programmes currently available and expand the successful model of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. With InvestEU, the Commission will further boost job creation, investment and innovation. The new programme will consist of the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal.
Building on the success of the Juncker Plan, the InvestEU Fund will continue to mobilise public and private investment in the EU to help address the still sizeable investment gap in Europe. The Commission is proposing €15.2 billion be earmarked for the InvestEU Fund. This will allow the EU budget to provide a €38 billion guarantee which will be used to support strategically important projects across the EU. By crowding in private and public investments, the Commission expects the InvestEU Fund to trigger more than €650 billion in additional investment across the EU over the 7-year period.
Building on the model of the Investment Plan's European Investment Advisory Hub, the InvestEU Advisory Hub will integrate the 13 different advisory services currently available into a one-stop-shop for project development assistance. It will provide technical support and assistance to help with the preparation, development, structuring and implementation of projects, including capacity building.
The Investment Plan's European Investment Project Portal gives visibility to investment projects across the EU and will be continued under the InvestEU Programme. The Portal brings together investors and project promoters by providing an easily-accessible and user-friendly database, giving projects more visibility and enabling investors to find investment opportunities in the sector or location of their interest.
Increased funding to invest in connecting Europeans with high-performance infrastructure
The Commission proposed to renew the 'Connecting Europe Facility', with €42.3 billion to support investments in the European infrastructure networks for transport (€30.6 billion), energy (€8.7 billion) and digital (€3 billion).
This represents a 47% increase compared to 2014-2020, showing the EU's commitment to a well-connected and integrated Union where citizens and businesses can fully benefit from free movement and the single market. For 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing to strengthen the environmental dimension of the Connecting Europe Facility, with a target of 60% of its budget contributing to climate objectives. This will help reinforce the Energy-Union, fulfil the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement and consolidate Europe's global leadership in the fight against climate change.
The Connecting Europe Facility will support smart, sustainable, inclusive, safe and secure mobility, in line with the 'Europe on the Move' proposals and the EU's transport infrastructure policy. It will for instance help with the decarbonisation of transport by prioritising environmentally friendly modes (such as rail transport) and the development of charging points for alternative fuels.
In the energy sector, the new Connecting Europe Facility will enable the creation of a genuine Energy Union and support the energy transition in line with the objectives of the Clean Energy for all Europeans proposals. This will enable Europe to remain frontrunner in the clean energy transition in line with this Juncker Commission political priority to become the world leader in renewable energy.
The Connecting Europe Facility will support state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, which lays the foundation for a functioning Digital Single Market. The digitalisation of European industry and the modernisation of sectors like transport, energy, healthcare and public administration depend on universal access to reliable, affordable, quality, high and very high capacity networks.
A €16 billion Space Programme to boost EU space leadership beyond 2020
For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposed to devote €16 billion to help maintain and further enhance the EU's leadership in space.
The new space programme will improve access for space start-ups to risk finance. At the same time, the Commission will explore the creation of a dedicated equity instrument through the InvestEU programme. The new space programme will create innovation partnerships to develop and purchase innovative products and services; facilitate access to testing and processing facilities for start-ups; and promote certification and standardisation. The programme will be rolled out together with Horizon Europe, ensuring collaboration between space-related research and innovation actions.
Given that the EU is the largest institutional customer, the Commission will aggregate the EU demand of launch services, providing investment and supporting the use of innovative technology such as reusable launchers, and contribute to the adaptation of the necessary ground infrastructure.
The EU will also ensure that the increase in financial investment is supported by efficient decision-making so that all EU space activities are rolled out on time and on budget. The Commission will continue to be responsible for managing the overall programme. The intergovernmental European Space Agency (ESA), given its unmatched expertise, will remain a major partner in the technical and operational implementation of the EU space programme. The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, to be renamed the 'EU Agency for the Space Programme', will increasingly support the exploitation and market uptake of EU space activities and play an increased role in ensuring the security of all the components of the programme.
Following up on the informal Leaders' Meeting in Sofia, and the announcement on 18 May, the College decided today to adopt an update of the Blocking Statute and of the European Investment Bank (EIB)'s External Lending Mandate. These measures are meant to help protect the interests of EU companies investing in Iran and to demonstrate the EU's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Commission is fully committed to the continued, full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, so long as Iran also respects its obligations. At the same time, the EU is also committed to maintaining cooperation with the United States, who remains a key partner and ally.
The College endorsed the decision to impose additional duties on the full list of US products notified to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as part of the EU's response to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium products. Following today's decision to apply additional duties to selected imports from the United States, the Commission expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with Member States before the end of June so that the new duties start applying in July. The application of the rebalancing duties is fully in line with WTO rules. It is a measured and proportionate response to the unilateral and illegal decision taken by the United States to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports, which we regret.
Austrian presidency of the Council
The Austrian Federal Government visited the European Commission ahead of Austria's presidency of the Council. This morning President Juncker met bilaterally with the Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz.
Connecting Europe Facility
EU Space Programme