Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA) ‒ I voted in favour of the report on the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) as it marks the beginning of a positive project aimed at boosting much needed capital investment across Europe. Key to this investment plan must be the funding of small, locally based projects in Member States. We need a strong economic recovery with its foundations in towns and cities boosting employment and capital investment. I would urge that the strategy going forward gives stronger credence to the positives of economic investment at a local and regional level.

In January 2015, the Commission had proposed trimming EUR 2.7 billion from Horizon 2020's budget, including EUR 221.2 million from the European Research Council to feed EFSI. I deeply regret this proposal and continue to call for the protection of this essential research funding.

As a result of ongoing pressure from European Parliamentarians, the Horizon 2020 funding will now be cut by EUR 2.2 billion instead of EUR 2.7billion. Although I welcome this improvement, I remain of the opinion that any further attempt to plunder the Horizon 2020 fund should be avoided.

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