The Slovenia Times

EU Commission Vice-President In Charge of Investment to Visit Slovenia


His focus in Slovenia will be on explaining that the investment scheme is not only about government projects and on promoting investment platforms.

He told the STA that his EU tour, of which Slovenia is the final stop, has raised awareness among investors about the opportunities of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the Investment Plan as a whole.

Katainen explained that 23 projects in 12 countries have already received financing from the EIB worth EUR 2.5bn and expected to generate EUR 15bn in investments.

One of the key aspects of the roadshow has been addressing misunderstandings, the biggest being that EFSI is only available for major government infrastructure projects.

"It has been a big challenge for us to communicate to banks that there is plenty of opportunities for SME financing, and also to private companies that they can apply for financing from EFSI directly and that they don't need any governmental approval."

He also wants to raise awareness about this in Slovenia, while another priority will be encouraging the authorities and the private sector to establish specific investment platforms.

"The idea is very simple. If there are big amounts of small size investments, for instance in the field of energy efficiency or energy sector as a whole or digital environment, it's good to establish a special purpose vehicle that is pulling together a big amount of small size projects and then EFSI could invest in this platform instead of financing each and every little project," Katainen explained.

As regards Slovenia, he moreover urged a reform of the investment environment. While public investment has remained at a fairly high level during the crisis, there is a lack of private investment, he argued.

"Government can play a significant role in the business environment. Opening up the market, reducing the size of the public sector in the market, flexibilizing the labour market, reforming taxation in order to be more growth friendly, This is what typically is a government's role instead of financing everything in the market."

"There's plenty of liquidity in Europe, what's missing is risk financing, that's the reason why we established EFSI," Katainen added.


More from Nekategorizirano