EC Vice-President Katainen and PM Rõivas debate Investment Plan for Europe
European Commission (EC) Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, promotes the EC's Investment Plan for Europe in Tallinn today and will participate in a public debate on European economy with Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas.
Katainen's working visit to Estonian capital is part of his roadshow to promote the “Investment Plan for Europe”.
The highly ambitious plan came about because since the global economic and financial crisis, the EU has been suffering from low levels of investment. The EC is now focussing at the coordinated efforts to reverse this downward trend and put Europe on the path of economic recovery.
The Investment Plan for Europe will deploy public and private investments of at least 315 billion euros over the next three years, from 2015-2017. The plan aims to better mobilize investment finance across the EU. One of the steps will be the creation of portal on European investment opportunities, to provide transparency for investors.
As part of the plan, the Commission is also working to remove regulatory barriers to investment and strengthen the single market.
In Estonia's case, the total investment remains among the EU’s highest at 25.8 percent of GDP in 2014. Estonia's public sector investment was the highest in the EU at 5.1 percent of GDP in 2014, and it is expected to increase in 2015. Private investment has been driven by the industrial sectors, mainly trade, electricity and agriculture, and R&D expenditure remains below the EU average at 1.7 percent of GDP in 2013. Thus, higher investment is needed in R&D and education, but also in high-quality infrastructure and effective transport systems. Further investment is also needed to enhance the energy efficiency of the economy and improve interconnections of Estonia’s gas and electricity networks in order to fully integrate it into the EU energy market.
It is expected that the Investment Plan for Europe can contribute to high value investment in these sectors, which are vital for Estonia’s long term competitiveness and economic growth.
"I am very pleased to be in Estonia to engage with local businesses, government and students about the Investment Plan for Europe. Estonia is a frontrunner and model for other European countries when it comes to investment in innovation and entrepreneurship. One great example of this is the country's advanced digital infrastructure. Together with my colleague Vice-President Andrus Ansip, we want to create a true digital single market in Europe, which is an important part of the Investment Plan," Katainen said prior to the visit.
During his visit, Katainen will meet Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, Minister of Finance Sven Sester, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal and Minister of Entrepreneurship Urve Palo. The EC commissioner will also meet local bankers and venture capitalists and visit Skype's Tallinn HQ.
Prior to EC position, Katainen was Prime Minister of Finland from 2011 to 2014.