FIEC calls for bond funding of TEN-T schemes
By Chris Sleight22 October 2008
The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has called for increased investment in European infrastructure, despite the current difficulties in the global credit markets. The association has suggested the launch of bonds to finance the Trans European transport Network (TEN-T), and has highlighted the importance of infrastructure in securing long-term economic growth
"The European infrastructure network is one of the key conditions for long-term growth and jobs, as stated in the Lisbon Strategy, "said FIEC vice president Elco Brinkman. "Therefore, the current international financial crisis should not be seen as a threat for construction, but rather as an opportunity to re-launch investment in infrastructure. Many economic experts lend their support to the idea that such investment would play a major role in helping secure economic growth in the current circumstances."
FIEC is calling for the Commission and European Investment Bank (EIB) to explore the possibility of issuing bonds to finance TEN-T priority projects. Difficulties in raising funds have been the main reason many TEN-T projects have been delayed, due largely to pressures on EU Member States' national budgets. The launch of a ‘European Bond' is seen as a way of attracting new private funds to the schemes.
"Although European and in particular national funds are in the front line for the viability of TEN-T projects, they are insufficient by themselves. Consequently, the private sector has an equally important role to play in carrying out the Trans-European Transport Network," said Mr Brinkman.
In addition to exploring the possibility of bond debt, FIEC has welcomed the setting up of the European PPP Expertise Centre last month under the auspices of the Commission and EIB. The Centre is designed to provide support the public sector and spread best practice when it comes to procuring services through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.