Schaeuble Urges Deregulation for EU Investment Push to Succeed

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s 300 billion-euro ($372.6 billion) investment plan requires deregulation to unleash its full potential.

Speaking to reporters after a two-day meeting of European Union finance ministers, Schaeuble cited energy and the digital economy as areas where the European Commission should come up with proposals for EU member states to ease rules. Investors should be allowed to put their money in electricity grids, Schaeuble said, giving an example.

“If we really want to get a successful initiative under way, it will be necessary to speak about energy union and digital union not only as formulas, but to launch deregulation initiatives that clearly improve the scope for investments,” Schaeuble said. “Tremendous investment amounts can be mobilized if the necessary deregulation steps are taken.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government will inject an additional 10 billion euros in investment into the economy from 2016 as Germany’s contribution to Juncker’s 300 billion euro program, expecting this will trigger a multiple in private investment spending, Schaeuble said.

“Three hundred minus 10 is 290, but of course we assume and that’s what everybody says that when we do additional public investments, there will also be additional private investments,” Schaeuble said. “The 300 billion mean additional investments over these years, not additional money, and especially private investments.”

Juncker’s investment package, announced in July, aims to collect national and European public resources in order to “crowd in” as much private money as possible for public-private investment, Jyrki Katainen, the European Commission vice president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness said Oct. 14.

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