FIEC backs EU President’s funding aims

By Sandy Guthrie09 September 2010

FIEC president Luisa Todini

FIEC president Luisa Todini

Proposed new financing sources for major European infrastructure projects outlined by the EU President have been welcomed by FIEC (the European Construction Industry Federation).

In his State of the Union 2010 speech, EU President José Manuel Durão Barroso talked about how "a Euro spent at European level gets you more than a Euro spent at national level".

He said, "Some Member States are seeing this logic even in areas of core national competence, like defence. They recognise that huge savings could be made if they pool some of their means and activities. Pooling money at the European level allows Member States to cut their costs, avoid overlaps and get a better return on their investment."

President Barroso told MEPs, "That's why we should also explore new sources of financing for major European infrastructure projects. For instance, I will propose the establishment of EU project bonds, together with the European Investment Bank. We will also further develop Public Private Partnerships (PPP)."

FIEC President Luisa Todini said, "The construction industry is very pleased that President Barroso proposes new financing sources, such as European bonds and PPP, for major European infrastructure projects.

"We fully share the underlying conviction that these investments at the European level are necessary for jobs, not only in the construction industry, and the further development of the EU."

She added, "The construction industry also welcomes the forthcoming action plans on energy and energy efficiency."

In his speech, President Barroso said, "Energy is a key driver for growth and a central priority for action. We need to complete the internal market of energy, build and interconnect energy grids, and ensure energy security and solidarity. We need to do for energy what we have done for mobile phones - real choice for consumers in one European marketplace.

"Over the next year, we will bring forward an energy action plan, an infrastructure package and an energy efficiency action plan to put this vision in place."

He added, "To build a resource-efficient Europe, we need to look beyond energy."

He said that meant delivering on the EU's climate and energy package as a core driver for change.

"This means integrating the different strands of policy on climate change, energy, transport and environment into a coherent approach on resource efficiency and a low-carbon future."

Ms Todini said the construction industry confirmed its readiness to contribute its expertise to both the formulation of realistic aims and their implementation in practice.

"The energy-saving potential in existing buildings is extremely high and at the same time achievable at reasonable cost," she said.

Todini said of President Barroso's view of Europe's role in the world, "It will be essential to ensure that all Member States, without exception, fully support the positions to be negotiated and respect the results achieved. Otherwise the EU will fail to play the role that it wishes to play and that matches its economic weight."

She offered the European Construction Industry's active support for "making Europe fit for the future".

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