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Wednesday 13.12.2017 | Name days: Veldze, Lūcija
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Roberts Zile criticizes Juncker Fund operations

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAlthough the European Commission continues talks about accomplishments of Juncker Fund, the grim reality is that most of the money ends up in wealthy EU member states, where there is no lack of investments.

This was pointed out in the vote of the European Parliament, thereby confirming MEP Roberts Zile’s previously voiced criticisms and concerns about the operation of the European Strategic Investments Fund, EP reports.

In his speech at a meeting of the European Parliament’s plenary meeting on 14 June, MEP Roberts Zile turned the attention of other MEPs toward multiple important aspects of the European Strategic Investment Fund.

«Even when Juncker’s Fund was first announced I could see this plan being used as a cohesion fund for wealthy EU member states. It is obvious that investment money will end up only in the countries realizing major projects with high returns. This is why it was not surprising when my concerns were confirmed in the first official numbers about ESIF operations,» Zile said.

Wealthy Nordic and Western EU member states received 91% of ESIF support by 30 June 2016. The remaining 13 member states (including Latvia) received only 9% of all investments from this fund. The European Parliament voted for ESIF operation report last Thursday.

«While the European Commission continues talking about ESIF accomplishments and Juncker promising that the fund’s activities benefit Latvia and Luxembourg, I feel satisfaction that, being a shadow informant, I have made certain the European Parliament focuses on dry statistics on actual division of funds among EU member states. I hope the European Commission and Mr. Juncker personally will take into account conclusions and recommendations made in the parliament’s report, and admit that this fund has mainly benefited wealthy EU member states,» Zile says.

«Although in the report we stated that more focus should be provided to less developed regions in all 28 member states, I do not think much will be done in this regard. The fund’s establishment and operations as such will not be changed. With that, it is logical the differences in funding between western and eastern countries will continue in the future,» says the MEP.

Zile also notes that looking at projects in Eastern Central European countries that have received support from ESIF it can be concluded that European Central Bank’s approval does not contribute to attraction of private investments in practice. Instead, public taxpayers’ money is subjected to loan risk.

«As proven by two approved risk money projects Riga City Council has attracted for direct and indirect ESIF support, it is the money of Riga’s taxpayers (nearly EUR 400 million) that will be subjected to long-term risks associated with Riga’s public infrastructure projects. It is worth keeping in mind that Riga City Council has decided to attract EU money for the ‘cemetery tram’ project because this infamous project would likely fail to qualify for a loan because of its low profitability,» said the MEP.

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