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EC Grants and Loans

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress his Department has made towards setting up a European growth fund. (126578)

The European Action for Growth initiative, to which I assume the hon. Member’s question relates, was endorsed by the European Council in December 2003. Under this initiative, the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and the EU fund investment in trans-European infrastructure networks (TENs), innovation and R & D, identifying priority projects and research areas, and improving the regulatory, administrative and financial environment so as to mobilise private financing and to optimise public funding. The EIB, of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a Governor, has established a dedicated unit taking forward the initiative. Already, a number of instruments have been advanced including, for example, the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) and an increased contribution to the TENs Investment Facility. A mid-term evaluation of the Action for Growth Initiative is expected by the end of 2007.