Juncker Investment Plan: latest results and controversy

According to the European Investment Bank (EIB), by December 2018, the Juncker Plan was set to generate €375.5 billion in investment across the EU. So far, operations approved under the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) – the financial arm of the Juncker Plan – represent a total volume of €70.4 billion in the 28 Member States. The EIB approved 514 infrastructure projects for a total amount of €52.9 billion and 517 financing agreements dedicated to SMEs for a total amount of €17.5 billion. More than 850 000 SMEs are expected to benefit from these agreements.
On 29th January however, the European Court of Auditors published a report questioning the real impact of the Juncker Plan. Questions arise in particular about the uptake by the EFSI of projects that would receive financial support from other existing European instruments; the scale of private investment attracted; and a uniform distribution of the geographical scope of such investment.
According to the Court, almost a third of the projects would have been undertaken without the support of the EFSI, notably in the transport and energy sectors. The Court also considers that the reported leverage effect (of 1 to 15) is overestimated. Finally, the report indicates that operations in infrastructure are concentrated in France (18%), Italy (17%) and Spain (12%), that is, those countries with the most developed and active national promotional banks.
Regarding this latter point, the EIB reacted that, in relation to national GDP, the 4 countries that have benefited most from EFSI operations are Greece, Estonia, Spain and Lithuania.



Kick-off of the “Blueprint” project

The 24 partners from 12 different countries gathered in Madrid (ES) on 31/1 and 1/2 for the kick-off meeting of the “Blueprint” project, co-financed by the EU Erasmus+ programme.
This project, which is coordinated by the Spanish “Fundación Laboral de la Construcción”, aims at developing a long term strategy for addressing the problem of skills gaps/mismatches that construction companies are facing in many EU Member States. The main focus will be on skills related to energy efficiency, circular economy and digitalisation, which constitute major challenges for the construction industry.
The partners, which include Social Partners from the EU and the national level, as well as training centres, will, amongst other things, develop tools aimed at better analysis of the expected future developments in the above mentioned fields and at ensuring their adequate integration in the training schemes.

Building Passport Task Force first meeting

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, which was established during COP21 at a parallel event in Paris, has launched a Task Force to make progress on the concept of a Building Passport. This has been discussed over a number of years and a group of stakeholders will now work on concrete proposals, with the aim of complementing existing best practice and addressing all aspects that have been identified, or will be identified as being critical to the contents of such documents. The group will also take account of work on a renovation passport, which has been initiated by the European Commission following the revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive. FIEC will participate in this group and amongst other things, will support proposals that are compatible with BIM and digital construction.