The European Investment bank has approved 197 EFSI-backed projects to date, while the European Investment Fund has approved 264 SME financing agreements.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (Efsi), also known as the Juncker Plan, is now set to trigger more than €177bn ($190bn) in total investments, figures released following a meeting of the European Investment Bank’s board of directors show.
Efsi was launched by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in 2015 to mobilise a total of €315bn by 2018 and the recent numbers show the initiative has broken through the halfway point.
The European Investment Fund has approved 264 small and medium-sized financing agreements to date, with capital allocated through Efsi of more than €8bn and more than 400,000 businesses expected to benefit from that cash.
The European Investment Bank meanwhile has approved 197 infrastructure projects through Efsi worth a total of €24bn. The projects span all 28 current member states of the EU – though how much money the UK stands to receive in future has been a matter of debate in several previous Global Government Venturing editorials.
The success of Efsi so far comes alongside an announcement that 71 small and medium-sized enterprises have been selected for funding in the latest round of the Horizon2020 SME Instrument Phase 2.
These businesses are located in 22 countries and stand to receive close to €104m overall for a total of 66 projects. In the second phase of the initiative, each project will be granted up to €2.5m – or up to €5m for healthcare-related projects.
Notably, Spanish companies have been the most successful applicants here – a total of 19 businesses will be given cash to develop their early-stage products. Germany and Ireland both featured five companies.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, ICT and transport account for the most projects with 10 each, followed by nine for low-carbon and energy-efficient technologies. The last two are arguably more surprising, as cleantech has been a waning sector since its heights a few years ago.
The Horizon2020 instrument has funded 641 SMEs for phase two since it was launched in January 2014.
Efsi for its part is set to be extended beyond 2018, following a call from Juncker in June 2016. Dubbed Efsi 2.0, the EU’s finance ministers backed the proposal last year, a decision welcomed by the European Council in December.
Juncker has made the continuation of Efsi one of the European Commission’s top legislative priorities and is aiming for a swift passage of the required agreements.