Meddelelse fra Kommisjonen til Europaparlamentet, Rådet, Den europeiske økonomiske og sosiale komite og Regionsutvalget: En pilot for Europa 2020 Project Bond Initiativ
Meddelelse lagt fram av Kommisjonen 19.10.2011
BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsmeddelelsen, engelsk utgave)
EU infrastructure policy: from grants to project bonds
Despite long-standing EU policy and grant spending on Trans-European Networks (TENs) in the area of transport, energy and telecommunications, the Commission has found that the completion of key infrastructure projects is delayed with one of the principal reasons being lack of investment.
The 2010 Monti Report "A new strategy for the single market"  diagnosed the problem as "Major public infrastructure in Europe, such as the TENs, is transnational, unfit for the currently fragmented national schemes, and their funding suffers from the absence of a liquid bond market for very long maturities, while long-term investors such as pension funds cannot find a supply of bonds matching their investment needs" .
Therefore, one of the key decisions in the proposed multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for the period 2014-2020, adopted by the Commission on 29 June 2011, was to re-unite the granting of financial aid for transport, energy and ICT infrastructure under a common legislative framework, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) [3}:
"The Commission has decided to propose the creation of a Connecting Europe Facility to accelerate the infrastructure development that the EU needs. (…) The Connecting Europe Facility will fund pre-identified transport, energy and ICT priority infrastructures of EU interest, and both physical and information technology infrastructures, consistent with sustainable development criteria" .
The Commission will make a proposal for a new Regulation to establish the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which will use both grants and financial instruments, in recognition of their respective strengths. The instruments will comprise both equity and risk-sharing instruments. The Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative will be one of a number of risk-sharing instruments upon which the facility may draw in order to attract private finance to projects. In other words, from 2014 onwards, CEF will put European funding for transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure on a solid and coherent basis for the longer term. In addition, the financial instruments under the Facility may be extended to other sectors such as social infrastructure, renewable energy or certain space projects, provided they fulfil the appropriate economic and financial criteria as laid out in Section 3. However, infrastructure projects in Europe are facing financing problems already now. Government spending is being reduced, with investment programmes frequently reduced first, and long-term bank lending continues to be scarce. Project finance volumes, after recovering somewhat in 2010, have declined dramatically in the first half of 2011 . Thus, at a point in time where infrastructure projects could contribute most to aid the European recovery, the financing is more challenging than it need be .
It will also be beneficial for the European economy as a whole due to the direct and indirect benefits of investing in infrastructure while supporting the urgent shift towards a resource efficient and low carbon economy, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.
The Commission is therefore proposing to launch a pilot phase in the period 2012-2013, still within the current financial framework. The recent consultation showed widespread support from stakeholders to open up debt capital markets for infrastructure financing as soon as possible. In addition, such a pilot phase would facilitate the market introduction of EUsupported project bonds, which will be a new type of asset and testing of the design and parameters of the initiative in order to make changes, if required, before 2014.
1 M. Monti: A new strategy for the single market, at the service of Europe's economy and society, 9.5.2010, p. 62.
2 Monti report p. 62.
4 COM(2011) 500 final.
5 Source Infrastructure Journal (IJ) database Western Europe declined from EUR 33 billion to 26 billion, half of which is transport and energy (IJ's data for Eastern Europe are distorted by Russia and Turkey, hence not included).
6 See also the Impact Assessment on the Connecting Europe Facility and the Impact Assessment accompanying the legislative proposals for the ERDF and Cohesion Fund.