Investing in infrastructure research and innovation is key to unlocking growth and increasing competitiveness, and the EIB has an important role to play. In my amendments to the Capital Requirements Directive, I have proposed that banks co-financing long-dated infrastructure with the EIB should be able to drop their risk rating by 50%. However, the EIB relies on its guarantee – implied guarantee – from our Member States for its triple-A rating, and we do need improved transparency.The Risk Sharing Finance Facility, loan guarantee facility and Eurostars programmes for SMEs appear to be under-utilised by certain Member States. These programmes can be overly bureaucratic when compared to national programmes, and we should look at this.
Last year, I led negotiations for this Parliament on budgetary frameworks. It obliges countries to disclose off-balance sheet debts and contingent liabilities, and the project bond initiative must not be an excuse to hide new debts in complex arrangements between our Member States, the EU and the EIB. So the pilot schemes should be carefully monitored and assessed before a larger roll-out. Funds should be open to all and pricing must be fair. As MEPs, we all know of the infrastructure needs in our own countries. In my region we need investment in broadband, electricity grids and key roads. If project bonds can unlock that investment without adding hidden leverage for our national taxpayers, then I will support them.
Vicky Ford MEP UK Office
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