EU launches €22bn PPP investment package
Scheme, to focus on innovation, includes €10bn from private sector
European commissioner for research, innovation and science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn aid the new package would deliver “good jobs and major benefits to society”. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters
The EU has announced details of a €22 billion investment package built around public private partnerships (PPP) which it hopes will help revitalise the EU’s sluggish economy over the next seven years.
Under the scheme the EU will invest €8 billion, with €10 billion coming from the private sector and €4 billion from member states.
The investment will be anchored around five so-called “joint technology initiatives” (JTIs) focusing on five areas of innovation – cleaner aircraft, innovative medicine, electronics manufacturing, alternatives to fossil fuel, and the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
Research institutions, universities and SMEs will be eligible to apply for the scheme, which is part of Horizon 2020, an EU research and innovation programme for 2014 to 2020. It succeeds the EU’s current programme, known as FP7, which comes to an end this year.
Announcing details of the scheme in Brussels, European commissioner for research, innovation and science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said the new package would deliver “good jobs and major benefits to society”.
Vote of confidence
Noting that the EU had doubled its contribution to this round of funding, Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said the investment was a “a vote of confidence in investing in research and innovation in Europe”.
“This represents a major increase in our level of ambition compared to the current public-private partnerships we have.”
While Europe had maintained a leadership role in global innovation, many competitors were “investing faster”, she said, citing reports that China plans to have nine advanced bio-refineries for cellulosic biomass by 2015 despite Europe building the first facility.
“No one can rest on their laurels . . .Without new ideas Europe is not going to get out of this crisis quickly, if at all.”
Last month’s agreement on the EU’s seven-year budget unlocked the funding necessary for the EU’s budget for the next seven years, including €70 billion for Horizon 2020.
Increase in funding
Ms Geoghegan-Quinn’s portfolio has been one of the few areas to see an increase in funding in the last few years as the EU tries to rebalance its expenditure away from traditional areas such as the Common Agricultural Policy towards investment in research and innovation.