Nye investeringer for styrking av Europas fremtid

Nye investeringer for styrking av Europas fremtid

Meddelelse fra Kommisjonen til Europaparlamentet, Rådet, Det europeiske økonomiske og sosiale utvalg og Regionskomiteen: Investeringer i dag for Europas fremtid

Meddelelse lagt fram av Kommisjonen 28.01.2009

Nærmere omtale

BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsmeddelelsen, engelsk utgave)

Since autumn last year, the European Union has faced a double challenge. The crisis in the financial markets sparked a sharp downturn in the European economy. It became clear that families, businesses and communities across Europe would feel the impact through unemployment and lost incomes: that urgent action was needed to address the crisis and its consequences. But at the same time, Europe was aware as never before how the long-term strength and sustainability of the European economy depended on spreading the tools of competitiveness to all sectors of European society, reshaping it to face the demands of energy security and the imperative of cutting greenhouse gases.

The result was the European Economic Recovery Plan [1] proposed by the Commission in November and endorsed by Heads of State and Government in the December European Council [2]. A Plan which explained how Member States and the EU could co-ordinate their policies and inject an immediate stimulus into the European economy. But a Plan which was also carefully targeted to direct that stimulus to Europe's long-term objectives.

An important part of the Recovery Plan was the proposal to boost EU spending in defined strategic sectors. The agreed stimulus of 1.5% of GDP required contributions from both national and EU sources, including the EU budget. The EU has not spent up to the agreed ceilings: the Commission therefore calculated that €5 billion could be directed swiftly at defined goals such as energy and broadband. This would boost confidence that investment was not grinding to a halt, and put Europe on the path to a stronger economy for the future. This was amongst the aspects of the Plan picked out for "particular support" by the December European Council, recognising also the need to take a suitable geographical balance into account.

Since December, the need to act has become clearer still. In particular, the importance of energy security, and the shortcomings in Europe today, have become clear. The direct consequences were felt by households and businesses in several Member States. But the impact of the gas crisis was felt by all, destabilising the EU's relations with its neighbours and bringing home the need to make the EU less dependent on external suppliers.

This Communication sets out where investment should be targeted. It is accompanied by proposals for financing decisions in the areas concerned. The projects identified have been selected to match the EU's strategic goals. EU support will be shaped to accelerate projects and to bring action in place as quickly as possible. In line with the European Council conclusions, a geographical balance is assured. The Commission has already tabled a proposal to revise the Multiannual Financial Framework 2007-2013 to make available additional funds under Heading 1A, while respecting the total amounts agreed in the inter-institutional agreement. [3] In the light of first discussions with the budgetary authority, it now proposes a transfer of resources not required under the ceiling of Heading 2 in respect of the year 2008 to heading 1A, to fund the €3.5 billion proposed for energy projects4, with the EUR 1.5 billion proposed in respect of broadband infrastructure and the new challenges indentified under the CAP Health Check remaining under Heading 2 for implementation under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The Commission calls upon the Council and the European Parliament to swiftly examine these proposals and to mobilise the resources required from the budget. This will make a major contribution to the EU's efforts to put the European economy back on the road to growth and prosperity, and show the Union's determination to tackle challenges of strategic importance for the future.

1 COM(2008) 800.
2 European Council conclusions 11-12 December, Brussels.
3 COM(2008) 859, 10.12.2008.