Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (172)

Clare Daly


172. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance his plans to support the objectives in local communities of the InvestEU programme of the European Commission in respect of the key policy areas of social capacity building and the growth of SMEs in order to move banking towards a sustainable accountable future. [19546/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The proposed InvestEU programme will replace the Investment Plan for Europe (Juncker Plan) under the multiannual financial framework (MFF). The programme will run from 2021-2027. When it comes into effect, it will streamline 14 financial instruments, currently under 8 different programmes, into one overarching instrument.

Preliminary agreement on the InvestEU programme has been reached between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council , with a number of matters still outstanding, including the budgetary aspects of the programme which are subject to the overall agreement of the next MFF. InvestEU should be finalised with the next Parliament. Once adopted there will be a great deal of work to complete before implementation can begin.

The programme consists of the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund will have four policy windows namely (i) sustainable infrastructure; (ii) research, innovation and digitisation,(iii)SMEs; and (iv) social investment and skills. These policy windows are of relevance to a number of line Departments. It will be a matter for each relevant line Department to support initiatives that fall under these policy windows.

Of relevance to SMEs are financial instruments that are currently provided under the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), the European Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) and Horizon 2020 (Innovfin- Finance for EU Innovators).

Once the InvestEU programme is in place, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will, in conjunction with my Department, continue to build on and extend utilisation of available supports and funding for SMEs.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), is committed to supporting enhanced competition in the provision of finance and solving market failure and access to finance issues for SMES in the Irish economy. It continues to  explore and utilise the opportunities presented under the existing European budgetary framework and Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) through working with the EIB Group to bring to market financing measures that increase the competitiveness and resilience of Irish SMEs and grow and protect jobs in the Irish economy. It plans to be fully ready to continue to do so under the InvestEU programme from 2021.