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MNI (London)
By Jean Comte
     BRUSSELS (MNI) - European Union lawmakers will meet this week in Strasbourg
to try to finalize the extension of the European fund for strategic investment,
the so-called "Juncker investment plan," sources told Market News.
     The extension of the scheme, which is operated by the European Investment
Bank, was agreed "in principle" mid-September. But the European Parliament and
member States still have to deal with issues related to its financing. Member
States want to transfer E225 million from the Connecting Europe Facility
programme and to redeploy E150 million from other budgetary lines. Parliament
could argue against the move, as it usually opposes cuts in EU programs.
     Both partners also have to work on the appointment of a fifth member at the
governing council, who will represent the Parliament. Under the provisional deal
from mid-September, he will have no voting rights, but is still supposed to have
some kind of influence. That sounds simple but could be complicated to put in
practice, as the EIB is supposed to be governed by member States.
     "These are political issues", stressed one source, criticizing the EU
institution's official statement that the only open issues are "technical".
     The Juncker plan was created in 2015, with the objective of triggering
investment of E315bn in the EU over three years. The extension proposal aims to
extend the lifetime of the Fund until 2020 and raise the total investment target
to E500bn.
     The EIB said last week that the total loans adopted under the Juncker plan
in 2015 and 2016 are expected to create 690,000 jobs, and to add 0.7% to the EU
GDP by 2020.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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