Brussels, Mar 2003
Commission President Romano Prodi has asked the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Philippe Maystadt, to seek new sources of funding for major research and development (R&D) projects.
Speaking to the European Parliament on 26 March, Mr Prodi referred to the lack of investment in trans European networks and the 'equally depressing' state of R&D. It is 'high time for a substantial increase in funding' for both priorities, said the Commission President.
'[D]espite the funds made available in the EU budget and the loans granted by the European Investment Bank, public expenditure in this area is actually down on last year while private investment is still below the minimum required,' said Mr Prodi.
New sources of funding could comprise EU guarantees and special borrowing facilities, Mr Prodi divulged. 'These are preconditions for meeting the Lisbon target and expanding the horizons of our knowledge,' he said, pinpointing joint research, networks of excellence, the mobility of students and researchers and programmes on the life sciences, renewable energy and the environment as vital.
'I realise financing is not the only obstacle to speedy implementation of these major projects. And I know that many years are needed to complete them. That is why there is no time to waste,' Mr Prodi concluded.