>@Mercedes Landete/EIB

The Representation of the European Commission (EC) in Spain, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Instituto de Crédito Oficial gave a presentation in Zaragoza this morning on the opportunity presented by the Investment Plan for Europe. The event took place at the Confederación de Empresarios de Aragón (CEOE Aragón) and was opened by Fernando Rivarés, Minister of Economy and Culture of the Municipality of Zaragoza, and Fernando Callizo, President of CEOE Aragón.

The Investment Plan for Europe was launched in 2015 with the aim of helping investment, providing visibility to projects, granting them technical assistance and ensuring that funds reach the real economy. It is expected to mobilise investment of at least EUR 315bn by 2018. EIB Vice-President Román Escolano, Instituto de Crédito Oficial Chairman Pablo Zalba, and Deputy Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Spain Juergen Foecking gave detailed explanations this morning. “We are working to improve the business climate in Europe with the Energy Union, Capital Markets Union and Digital Single Market projects. The Investment Plan offers companies a major opportunity to boost their business,” said Juergen Foecking.

How to present projects
At this event, which was supported by the Confederación de Empresarios de Aragón, IberCaja, the Europe Direct centre in Aragón and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), business people and managers from various economic sectors and institutions asked how to present projects and gain access to financing. Businesses in Aragón can opt for Investment Plan for Europe financing via the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). “There are several ways to access the financing. If the project is for over EUR 25m, the EIB can normally be contacted directly. If the specified investment is for less than this figure, the company can get in touch with the financial entities that have signed an agreement with the EIB,” explained Román Escolano. The EIB Vice-President also highlighted “the large-scale implementation of the Juncker Plan in Spain. The EIB has already approved more than 50 projects in our country that could result in investments of over EUR 28.5bn in the Spanish economy. In particular, in Aragón we have already financed major projects from companies such as SAICA and Redexis, which received our financial support to develop their investments.” ICO President Pablo Zalba hailed the “cooperation framework established between the EIB and ICO to contribute to the effective national implementation of the Investment Plan for Europe. To this end, we will continue to provide our technical experience and know-how to help Spanish companies to finance their projects through this initiative.”

On the hunt for business innovation
A lack of funds is one of the biggest problems affecting SMEs. The Investment Plan for Europe is trying to solve this issue. Most of the projects financed will make it possible to promote innovation and sustainable production in all sectors of the Spanish economy. This plan is aimed at SMEs, midcaps and large companies with the goal of supporting their competitiveness and creating jobs.

Access to funding will enable businesses in Aragón to grow
99.9% of companies in Aragón are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Of the 89 601 SMEs in the region, 56.16% are active in the services sector, 22.38% in commerce, 14.10% in construction and 7.37% in industry. Most businesses in Aragón are centred on commerce and hospitality, while there are 12 642 companies in the construction sector.

Objective: mobilise EUR 315bn across the EU
53 operations have been approved in Spain since the plan launched in 2015, with a total financing amount of over EUR 4.7bn, which is expected to result in investments of EUR 28.5bn in the Spanish economy. Across the EU, the EIB Group has approved 572 projects for a total investment amount of more than EUR 43.6bn, which is expected to mobilise EUR 225bn in investment.

The Investment Plan for Europe focuses its investments on strategic infrastructure (such as digital and transport), research and innovation, education, the development of renewable energies, resource efficiency, and support for SMEs.

This seminar is part of a series of events to take place in various Spanish cities over 2017. Organised by the Representation of the European Commission in Spain and the EIB, they will explain to business people – region by region – how they can present their projects and secure the financing they need to stimulate the economy and jobs in their area.