The Commission has today (14 April) taken steps to ensure that borrowing under the temporary recovery instrument NextGenerationEU will be financed on the most advantageous terms for EU member states and their citizens. The Commission will use a diversified funding strategy to raise up to around €800 billion in current prices until 2026. This approach, which will be in line with the best practices of sovereign issuers, will enable the Commission to raise the needed volumes in a smooth and efficient way. This will also attract investors to Europe and strengthen the international role of the euro.
Budget and Administration Commissioner Johannes Hahn (pictured) said: “NextGenerationEU is a game changer for European capital markets. Today, we are unveiling the engine that will pump the fuel to power NextGenerationEU. The funding strategy will operationalize the NextGenerationEU borrowing, so we will have all necessary tools in place to kick-start the social and economic recovery and promote our green, digital and resilient growth. The message is clear: as soon as the Commission has been legally enabled to borrow, we are ready to get going!”
Borrowing to finance the recovery
NextGenerationEU – at the heart of the EU's response to the coronavirus pandemic – will be funded by borrowing on the capital markets. We will raise up to around €800bn between now and end-2026.
This will translate into borrowing volumes of on average roughly €150bn per year, which will make the EU one of the largest issuers in euro. All borrowing will be repaid by 2058.
While the Commission has been borrowing before – to support EU member states and third countries – the volumes, frequency and complexity of the NextGenerationEU borrowing have called for a fundamental change in the approach to capital markets.
A diversified funding strategy will respond to these new funding needs. It will enable the Commission to mobilise all funds when required on the most advantageous terms for the EU Member States and their citizens.
Diversified funding strategy: a snapshot
A diversified funding strategy combines the use of different funding instruments and funding techniques with an open and transparent communication to the market participants.
The Commission's diversified funding strategy would combine:
- Annual decision on borrowing volumes and six-monthly communication on the funding plan's key parameters, to offer transparency and predictability to investors and other stakeholders;
- structured and transparent relationships with banks supporting the issuance programme (via a Primary Dealer Network);
- multiple funding instruments (medium and long-term bonds, some of which will be issued as NextGenerationEU green bonds, and EU-Bills) to maintain flexibility in terms of market access and to manage liquidity needs and the maturity profile, and;
- a combination of auctions and syndications, to ensure cost efficient access to the necessary funding on advantageous terms.
The borrowing operations will be embedded in a robust governance framework, which will ensure coherent and consistent execution.
In its work, the Commission will continue to coordinate with other issuers, including the EU Member States and supranationals.
The added value of a diversified funding strategy
The diversified funding strategy will help the Commission to achieve two main objectives: address the large funding needs of NextGenerationEU and obtain the desired low cost and low execution risk in the interest of all member states and their citizens:
- By using a wide range of maturities and instruments and by making funding operations more predictable, the Commission will ensure a larger market absorption capacity. The ability to auction debt will make the funding operations even more efficient. This will help address the large funding needs.
- By allowing flexibility to decide when to execute funding operations and which funding techniques or instruments to use, the Commission will obtain the desired low cost and low execution risk in the interest of all member states.
Following today's package, the Commission will proceed with a series of steps to operationalise the diversified funding strategy. Among them:
- Setting up a Primary Dealer Network. In line with practices of comparable issuers, the Commission will set up a Primary Dealer Network to facilitate the efficient execution of auctions and syndicated transactions, support liquidity in the secondary markets, and ensure the placement of our debt with the widest possible investor base. The application form and the General Terms and Conditions for participation will be published shortly.
- Publish the first annual Borrowing Decision (and accompanying Financing Decision) and first NextGenerationEU funding plan. To ensure transparent communication with the markets, the Commission will adopt its first annual borrowing decision and communicate the information related to its first funding plan before the start of the NextGenerationEU borrowing, expected this summer (timing being dependent on the approval of the Own Resources Decision by all Member States which will empower the Commission to borrow for NextGenerationEU). The borrowing operations can then start as soon as the Own Resources Decision will enter into force. Funding plans will then be updated semi-annually.
NextGenerationEU is at the heart of the EU response to the coronavirus crisis and aims to support the economic recovery and build a greener, more digital and more resilient future. The EU agreed this instrument as part of an over €2 trillion (in current prices) or €1.8trn (in 2018 prices) stimulus package, which also comprises the 2021-2027 long-term budget.
The centrepiece of NextGenerationEU is the Recovery and Resilience Facility - an instrument to offer grants and loans to support reforms and investments in the EU Member States with a total value of €723.8 billion in current prices.
In addition, NextGenerationEU will reinforce several EU programmes. To finance NextGenerationEU, the EU will borrow on the capital markets. Repayment will take place over a long-time horizon, until 2058. This will avoid immediate pressure on member states' national finances and enable EU Member States to focus their efforts on the recovery.
To help repay the borrowing, the EU will look into introducing new own resources (or sources of revenue) to the EU budget, on top of the already existing ones.
The EU as a borrower
The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, is a well-established participant in the capital markets. Over a period of 40 years, the European Commission has run several lending programmes to support EU member states and third countries.
Last year, the Commission also started borrowing for SURE – the up to €100bn instrument – to help protect jobs and keep people in employment. So far, 3/4ths of the EU SURE funds have been raised in six very successful issuances, which has made it possible to finance loans to member states on very advantageous terms.
All of these lending operations were financed on a back-to-back basis, mainly through syndicated bond issuances.
Civil protection: Council adopts new rules to strengthen disaster response
The Council today (11 May) adopted a regulation to strengthen the EU civil protection mechanism. The new rules will allow the EU and the member states to better prepare for natural and man made disasters and to respond faster when they strike, including in cases which affect a majority of member states simultaneously, such as a pandemic. The text also sets out the funding of the civil protection mechanism in the context of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027.
The proposed rules will allow the European Commission to address gaps in the area of transport and logistics, and, in cases of urgency, directly procure certain additional rescEU capacities. These rescEU capacities, as well as those hosted by member states, will be fully financed from the EU budget.
Prevention and preparedness will also be improved under the proposed regulation. The Commission, in co-operation with member states, will define and develop EU disaster resilience goals in the area of civil protection
The text sets out a total of €1.263 billion in funds for the 2021-2027 period. It also includes an amount of up to €2.56bn to implement the civil protection related measures to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis foreseen in the EU recovery instrument. This is an increase of over three times as compared to the 2014-2020 budget. It reflects the strengthening of the EU's collective response to disasters, including the recent establishment of a reserve of capacities (rescEU), the reinforcement of the European civil protection pool and the improvements in disaster prevention and preparedness.
The EU civil protection mechanism was first established in 2001 and it coordinates the response to natural and man-made disasters at the EU level. Its objective is to foster cooperation among national civil protection authorities, increase public awareness and preparedness for disasters and enable quick, effective, coordinated assistance to affected populations.
The EU civil protection mechanism includes a European civil protection pool. This is a voluntary pool of capacities pre-committed by member states for immediate deployment inside or outside the EU. The civil protection mechanism was last amended in 2019, when an additional reserve of resources, called rescEU, was created to provide assistance in situations where overall existing capacities are insufficient.
- Regulation amending the decision on an EU civil protection mechanism
- EU civil protection (background information)
Vice President Schinas and Commissioner Johansson participate in ministerial conference on migration management with African partners
Today (11 May), Promoting our European Way of Life Vice President Margaritis Schinas and Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, will take part virtually in a ministerial conference on migration management gathering Interior ministries from EU Member States, the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, the Chairs of the Rabat Process and the Khartoum Process and partner countries in Africa. Organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the event will focus on two main areas in the EU's migration partnership with African partners: the management of irregular movements, including border management and return; and new opportunities for legal migration. Senior officials from the African Union, the European Commission and the European External Action Service, Justice and Home Affairs Agencies, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will also participate.
Portugal's Home Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita and Commissioner Johansson will hold a press conference after the meeting at +/- 14h30 CET.
European Year of Rail: Connecting Europe Express will travel across 26 countries in 36 days
On Europe Day (9 May), the Commission announced the route and timetable of the Connecting Europe Express, as part of the European Year of Rail 2021. Beginning its journey on 2 September in Lisbon and stopping in more than 70 cities in 26 countries, the train will link the Portuguese, Slovenian and French Presidencies of the Council of the EU, arriving in Paris on 7 October. The special train will demonstrate the power of rail to connect people and businesses, and the importance of EU infrastructure policy in making this possible.
Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said: “Crisscrossing the continent, from Lisbon to Bucharest and from Berlin to Paris, the Connecting Europe Express will follow routes that bind us together – whether countries, businesses or people. While a symbol for connectivity, this train also serves as a reminder that we still have a long way to go and much work to do before rail becomes the transport option of choice for Europeans. Welcome the Connecting Europe Express as it stops at a station near you and join the events taking place around the continent.”
The project is a unique endeavour, involving the European Commission and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European rail operators, infrastructure managers and numerous other partners at EU and local level. At each of the stops, events and other activities, adapted to local COVID-19 measures, will shine a light on the key role that rail plays for our society, but also on the challenges that rail must still overcome to attract more passengers and freight. You can have a look at the main stops or at the full map of the route here, and watch Commissioner Vălean's video message. Find more details here.
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