France to support EU investment plan

European Council/results – Communiqué issued following the Council of Ministers’ meeting (excerpts)

Paris, 22 December 2014

The Minister of Finance and Public Accounts, the Minister of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector and the Minister of State for European Affairs presented the results of the European Council.

The European Council endorsed the Investment Plan proposed by the new Commission. It called for the swift establishment of a European Fund for Strategic Investments. This fund must enable €315 billion of new public and private investment to be mobilized between 2015 and 2017. It will enable specific projects with genuine European added value to be financed in areas such as transport infrastructure, the energy transition, the digital sector, training, research and innovation. It will be fully geared towards the European Union’s growth and competitiveness. As requested by France, special emphasis will be put on the need for the first projects to get under way very quickly, as early as 2015.

The establishment of the fund will be accompanied by a regulatory dimension aimed at boosting the EU’s attractiveness for production, investment and innovation.

As France was requesting, the European Council emphasized the need to step up efforts to combat tax avoidance and optimization. It called on the Commission to swiftly present a proposal on automatic information exchange relating to tax rulings in the EU. This is an important element of a comprehensive strategy sought by France and requiring common rules on three major aspects, as the French, German and Italian finance ministers requested in their letter to the Commission on 28 November: widespread transparency, combating schemes organized to avoid effective taxation, and measures to deal with third states and countries which also contribute to optimization through their opacity and lack of taxation. (…)./.

Economy/European Council – Press conference given by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Brussels, 18 December 2014

THE PRESIDENT – First of all, this European Council meeting is going to focus on the Juncker plan: €315 billion to revitalize investment, carry out the energy transition and roll out modern digital technology.

It was a major French demand and a wish I’d expressed several times since June 2012. We’ve finally arrived at the plan, and I want to pay tribute to the European Commission’s efforts to move quickly, because we must now move quickly. The economic situation is favourable; the price of oil is very low, the euro has fallen against the dollar – that’s an advantage – and we have very low interest rates. (…)

Q. – Will France also be contributing financially to this investment plan?

THE PRESIDENT – France is going to support this European investment plan. France is going to add funds and France is going to add finance, to ensure there is more investment and more support for growth in our own country.

Q. – What are the criteria for there to be more investment?

THE PRESIDENT – The criteria for the projects we want to develop at European and French level are all about the energy transition. The Climate Conference will be taking place in December 2015 and we must commit ourselves to it – to digital technology, because it’s very important for us to be on the cutting edge, and every infrastructure too. I’m going to meet the Spanish Prime Minister and the Portuguese Prime Minister; it’s in our interest for there to be as much infrastructure as possible; and likewise, we have many shared projects with the Italians and the Germans that I want to implement.

Q. – And for France?

THE PRESIDENT – Everything in its own time; we’re soon going to begin procedures so as to be ready on 1 January, in a few days’ time, to present the investment projects to the Commission so that the Juncker plan is implemented in France as soon as possible./.

Published on 26/12/2014

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