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Frequently asked questions about the InvestEU Fund

Who chooses the InvestEU projects?

The Investment Committee selects projects based on compliance with the eligibility criteria set by the InvestEU Regulation as well as the Investment Guidelines, with a specific focus on additionality.

Members of the Investment Committee are external experts with expertise in the relevant sectors. The Committee meets in 4 different configurations corresponding to the policy windows.

The Committee’s decisions are made independently, with no political interference.

In practice, the European Commission first verifies the consistency of the proposed operations with EU law and policies. Projects passing this initial check are passed on to the Investment Committee.

The Investment Committee approves the use of the EU guarantee for financing and investment operations, taking its decision after assessing the project scoreboard presented by the implementing partners. Just as under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), all decisions approving the use of the EU guarantee are made publicly available.

What are the InvestEU eligibility criteria?

InvestEU projects must:

  • Address market failures or investment gaps and be economically viable
  • Need EU backing in order to get off the ground
  • Achieve a multiplier effect and where possible crowd-in private investment
  • Help meet EU policy objectives

The eligibility criteria are defined in the InvestEU Regulation and in the Investment Guidelines.

Why does EFSI cease to exist? Why not just create an EFSI 3.0?

EFSI was launched in July 2015 to boost investment and stimulate economic growth and employment in the EU at a time when Europe was still recovering from the financial and economic crisis. It was originally planned to have a short investment period (July 2015 - July 2018) to maximise its impact. Due to its success, EFSI was expanded in size and extended in duration in December 2017. Its investment period finished end-2020, also the end of the previous long-term budget, or Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). No new investments can be undertaken under EFSI after 2020 but – as with most EU financial instruments – the liabilities run for much longer.

The InvestEU Programme builds on the success of EFSI and continues to create and support jobs across the EU by following the same model based on an EU budget guarantee.

Is InvestEU taking budget from other financing programmes?
What will happen to programmes like COSME and InnovFin?

The InvestEU Fund brings 14 EU financial instruments under one roof, giving it a single, strong brand. The InvestEU Fund captures the objectives of existing instruments such as COSME and InnovFin and boosts investments even further thanks to the larger scale and efficiencies of the single InvestEU Fund. The four InvestEU Fund policy areas place emphasis on areas of strategic importance for the EU, with €6.9 billion each of the guarantee earmarked for small businesses and a further €6.6 billion earmarked for research, innovation and digitisation.

Can InvestEU financing be combined with EU grants?

Yes. Combining InvestEU financing and EU grants may be necessary in some situations to address particular market failures or investment gaps. The InvestEU Fund can be combined with grants or financial instruments (or both), funded by the centrally managed EU budget or by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) Innovation Fund. Such combinations can create advantages for project promoters in sectors such as transport, research and IT. When a project uses EU grants and InvestEU, the InvestEU rules will apply for the entire project. This means a single rulebook and a major simplification compared to today.

What is the risk profile of investments?
What type of investments is the InvestEU Fund targeting compared?

The InvestEU Fund targets economically viable projects in areas where there are market failures or investment gaps. The InvestEU Fund instruments seek to attract commercial financing to a wide range of operations and beneficiaries and only support projects where financing could not be obtained at all or not at the required terms without InvestEU Fund support. It will also target higher risk projects in specific areas.

In addition, InvestEU places more emphasis on social investment and skills. The allocation for budgetary guarantees and financial instruments in the social sector under the current long-term EU budget amounts to €2.2 billion, whereas InvestEU allocates €2.8billion of the EU guarantee to this policy area.

InvestEU also supports strategic investments including Important Projects of Common European Interest to support final recipients whose activities are of strategic importance to the EU, in particular in view of the green and digital transitions, of enhanced resilience and of strengthening strategic value chains.

What is the expected multiplier effect for InvestEU?
How do you expect to reach €372 billion?

Due to InvestEU targeting higher risk innovation projects and SMEs, as well as the greater focus on EU policy objectives, we expect a slightly more conservative multiplier effect than under EFSI: 11.4 rather than 15. That is to say that for every public euro that is mobilised through the Fund, €11.4 of total investment – that would not have happened otherwise – is generated.

The €10.5 billion budget earmarked for the InvestEU Fund allows the EU budget to provide a guarantee of €26.2 billion. In addition, each financial partner will be expected to contribute some resources to ensure that their interests are aligned, adding an estimated total of €6.55 billion, so the total guarantee will be around €32.75 billion. This in turn will be leveraged by each financial partner. This means they can lend more than the guarantee amount. Finally, each InvestEU-backed project will attract other private and public investors, as we have seen under the European Investment Plan. We expect this will trigger at least €372 billion in total investment.

What about State aid control?

State aid rules are essential to ensure effective competition, so that consumers and businesses get fair prices and wider choice in the Single Market. At the same time, in order to match InvestEU objectives to address market failures and mobilise private investment, it has to be easy to link up Member State money – which may entail State aid and be subject to State aid rules – with EU funds managed centrally by the Commission, which do not constitute State aid.

To further streamline the State aid approval process for such joint funding, in June 2018 the Commission proposed an amendment to one of the Council regulations governing EU State aid control. The Council adopted this amendment in November 2018. This revised enabling regulation allows the Commission, subject to certain conditions, to exempt Member State funding channelled through the InvestEU Fund or supported by the InvestEU Fund from the requirement to notify such interventions to the Commission prior to their implementation.

The funding from Member States would be declared compatible with EU State aid rules, as long as certain clear conditions are fulfilled. The Commission proposal thus ensures that State aid rules can help facilitate a seamless deployment of the InvestEU fund.

Who is accountable for the investments made?

The financial partners in InvestEU are responsible for the financing and investment operations under the InvestEU Fund since their governing bodies take the final decision on the financing.

The Investment Committee, composed of independent external experts, approves the use of the EU guarantee under the InvestEU Fund to support those operations ahead of the final decision by the financial partner.