European Union Investment Plan Begins With 2015 Starting Pledge

The European Commission said its 315 billion-euro ($344 billion) investment plan to boost growth across the 28-nation bloc will start later this year after it put the finishing touches to the project on Wednesday.

The plan, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s flagship effort to revitalize the economy, will bolster the European Investment Bank, the EU’s lender, so it can take more risk in picking projects to channel money into.

With the EU’s economy still reeling from the financial crisis which sent unemployment spiraling and brought growth to a halt, policy makers have been searching for fresh ways to spark economic expansion.

“Already nine member states have come forward with contributions to the investment plan via their promotional banks, which have invaluable local expertise and knowledge,” EU commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said in a statement.

The nine EU countries have pledged a total of 42.6 billion euros through their development banks to the plan, which aims to use 5 billion euros from the EIB alongside 16 billion euros in EU guarantees.

The EIB also has announced pre-financing for eight projects expected to be part of the plan, according to data provided by the commission. Those projects foresee 1.3 billion euros in EIB contributions, with a total cost of 3.8 billion euros for six of the projects; total costs for two of the projects have not been disclosed.

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