Long-term investment into infrastructure matters,
there is a lot of appetite for it, and we need to make it happen. Long-term investment in infrastructure means
investments in social housing, in transport infrastructure, in energy grids, in all these
things we need to have a good economy and create jobs for the future. Investment in infrastructure is a key element
both of competitiveness as well as the performance of our domestic economies. It is natural that
we put emphasis on priority infrastructure, that we focus on environmental investment,
that we improve and introduce new technologies, that we increase integration in terms of bringing
different transport systems and others together, that we expand the use of broadband. All of
these things are absolutely common sense clear. We need to invest in infrastructure to prepare
our future, to boost the economy, to create jobs. But we have a problem that since the
crisis it appears that banks are lending less money. The current levels of investment in infrastructure
are now lower, approximately 15%, than they were in 2007. So whereas other parts of the
western markets such as North America or Japan have recovered more rapidly than Europe has,
Europe has now to catch up. We need to find ways to get private money
also into the system in cooperation with the European Investment Bank or through all kinds
of funds. But to allow this, we need to have a framework. We need to create European Passport
for Funds, for example. We need to find ways to attract money to convince people that it
is safely invested and that they have a return on investment. Because it’s by nature so long term, it really
places a premium on having that right policy environment, a stable environment. So we talked
for example about getting the bank regulatory system right or the broader system right.
We talked about alternative sources of financing for long-term investment. And then of course
we talked about how the public sector can really work with the private sector. These are complex investments and you need
the skills to understand them. This is one of the main obstacles. Once you get comfortable
and you’ve got your internal teams and resources, then you can channel more investment. But
of course you don’t make that investment in resources until you are interested in this
asset class. And I think that’s where the regulation plays a key role, to facilitate
the attractiveness of the asset class and enable indeed those investments to be made. There is an increasingly valuable role that
capital market institutions can play to complement the European banking system. And indeed, it
is essential that the capital markets should do so.