On 6th June 2018, GIIA’s EU Working Group was launched in Brussels to support the Association’s advocacy and engagement work in Europe. GIIA members were joined by Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Financial Adviser to President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker, who provided a valuable update to members on the current work of the European Commission and hosted by Christiaan Smits, Head of EU Regulatory and Public Affairs at Freshfields, who updated the Working Group on the key issues affecting infrastructure investors in Europe.
With President Juncker’s five-year term coming to an end in Summer 2019 the group heard that it is considered unlikely any new legislation will be proposed by the European Commission in the next 12 months, however there are a number of existing plans and proposals that will carry into the Commission’s next term making it an important time for GIIA to be involved and engaged in policy discussions affecting our members.
A variety of topics were raised during the meeting, including:
- InvestEU: Announced on the day of the meeting, the EC is proposing as part of Juncker’s investment plan to create ‘The InvestEU Fund’ that will merge 14 existing financial instruments and seek to generate 650bn Euros of investment. GIIA members welcomed this initiative aimed at driving future investment across Europe
- FDI screening: While Paulina Dejmek-Hack emphasised these plans are not intended to be protectionist, some members expressed concerns – particularly in terms of what may be classified as critical infrastructure and what constitutes ‘foreign’ ownership.
- Capital Markets Union (CMU): Dejmek-Hack described this initiative as ‘extremely important’ in developing capital markets across the union. She also highlighted that the home of capital market issuance will be outside the bloc when the UK leaves the European Union, which will increase the importance of CMU going forward.
- Focus of engagement: The EC has responsibility for the overall regulatory environment for infrastructure investment but does not approve specific projects. Dejmek-Hack emphasised that National and Regional dialogue is needed, not simply engagement with the EC.
GIIA’s EU Working Group is an opportunity for members to be directly involved in setting our programme of engagement and activity across Europe and hearing directly from those decision makers and influences.
Any members interested in finding out more about GIIA’s EU Working Group are encouraged to contact Tim Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org