Billions freed up for investment in small business, energy efficiency

The Afstluitdijk causeway in North Holland provides a resource for blue-energy production (Eugene Soukharnikov/Wikimedia)The Afstluitdijk causeway in North Holland provides a resource for blue-energy production (Eugene Soukharnikov/Wikimedia)

The European Commission has made 315 billion euros available through the European Fund for Strategic Investment for additional investments in the European economy. For the Netherlands this potentially means billions of euros for, among other things, the laying of fiber optic networks, additional lending to small and medium enterprises and installing energy efficiency measures in homes, the government said on Tuesday.

Due to the economic crisis, investments in the European economy have lagged in the past few years. With the EFSI, the European commission hopes to elicit additional private investments through guarantees in the next four years.

On Tuesday the Cabinet established the Netherlands EFSI Investment Agency, or NEIA, to make sure that Dutch businesses and the economy get maximum benefit from the EFSI. Dutch investors looking for funding can turn to NEIA for expertise and assistance in filing the application to the EFSI. Dutch applicants will be able to qualify for EFSI support as soon as the European fund is open, Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp and Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem informed the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of parliament, of this development on Tuesday.

"Now that the economy is recovering, it is important to optimally use all opportunities for further growth." Kamp wrote to the Kamer. "With the help of EFSI, investors can realize additional projects in the coming years that stimulate the economy, for example in the field of renewable energy and innovation. With the NEIA, the Cabinet offers support and expertise to get investments with EFSI-support in the Netherlands."

"The NEIA opens a window that can quickly provide clarity about what the EFSI may or may not mean for individual projects. It also provides a platform that makes it possible to combine the knowledge, funding and organizational capacity of various parties to turn promising project ideas into successful applications for EFSI-funding." Dijsselbloem said.