European Initiative for Growth (Extract from Council and Commission press releases for the Ecofin Council of 6-7 October)

October 7, 2003

Brussels, 6 October 2003

The idea for a European Initiative for Growth was endorsed by the European Council in Thessaloniki. Since an initial outline last July ( IP/03/960 ) the Commission has made quick progress on a series of policy and legislative proposals in the fields of Trans European Networks (TENs) and European Research, Development and Innovation.

In a Report to the European Council, the Commission is now proposing a detailed road map for action and a series of recommendations to the October European Council ( IP/03/1321 ).

The European Initiative for Growth aims to mobilise investment in key areas of the Lisbon agenda: networks and knowledge. And in particular:

  • Trans-European transport and energy networks;

  • Broadband communication networks and e-Tens;

  • Research and Development and Innovation (RDI).
Unlike previous attempts the European Initiative for Growth presented by the Commission constitutes an integrated package of policies, delivery mechanisms and institutional arrangements to ensure implementation within a tight time period. The timing of the launch of the Initiative is aimed at sending a powerful signal of strong economic governance and of confidence in the potential of the European economy. A signal in support of key structural reforms that must be accelerated in the framework of the Lisbon agenda.

In elaborating its report the Commission has worked in close collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has prepared an interim report on the financial aspects of the European Initiative for Growth. The Commission has also taken due account of the important discussions in member states on this issue, notably the French and the German government.

The Ecofin Council is expected to adopt an Interim Report on the European Initiative for Growth for the European Council on 16-17 October.

European Action for Growth (Extract from Background on the Ecofin Council of 7 Oct.)
Full text of Council background

The Council is expected to adopt an interim report on the European Action for Growth as its main contribution to the Brussels European Council (16-17 October).

It is recalled that the Thessaloniki European Council "took note of the Commission's intention to launch an initiative in cooperation with the European Investment Bank to support growth and integration by increasing overall investment and private sector involvement in TENs and major R&D projects and in this context invited the Italian Presidency to pursue further."

It is recalled that on 15 July, the ECOFIN Council invited the Commission in cooperation with the EIB to conduct "an assessment and make proposals for a programme to support growth and integration by improving and/or increasing the overall investment and private sector involvement in TENs and major R&D projects". The Council mandated the EFC to prepare an assessment of this analysis.

The Commission adopted on 1st October a roadmap for action and a series of recommendations to the October European Council. The EIB presented a report on 30 September and the EFC agreed on its assessment on 3 October.

It is expected that the Council will focus its debate on the following elements:

- The emphasis - given to the need for accelerating the implementation of key investments in infrastructure and R&D in line with the Lisbon agenda. This will help raise growth potential in the medium term and boost confidence in the short term,

- The call for intensifying the use of Community resources (European Budget and EIB) and a better coordination between all Community tools, taking into account the current Financial Perspectives,

- The role of private money - in particular the way how to maximise the private capital participation through the PPs and securitization,

- The favour of TENs and transports but also the significance of R&D, investments in human capital, innovation, and

- The need for defining a quick start program which includes mainly projects having high potential impacts on the EU enlarged. Priorities with regard to specific projects.

The ECOFIN, on the basis of the final Report that the Commission should present in November, will again discuss this issue at its next meeting on 25 of November in view of the European Council meeting of 12-13 December.

DN: MEMO/03/191 Date: 06/10/2003

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