Michael Wilkins, Managing Director of Infrastructure Finance at Standard & Poor’s, explains that the recently-launched European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) is a key participant in the delivery of finance to infrastructure projects across the EU and, therefore, is a key pillar of the European Commission’s (EC) ‘Juncker Plan’. The plan aims to boost economic growth in Europe through increased infrastructure investment.
The idea is that the EIAH will act as single point of entry for questions related to infrastructure investments, combining the expertise of the EC, the European Investment Bank, national development banks, and authorities from the European Structural and Investment Funds (EFSI) to provide the following:
- Technical assistance for authorities and project sponsors;
- Understanding of project eligibility criteria under EFSI regulation;
- Local knowledge; and
- A platform for peer-to-peer information exchange and the sharing of project development knowhow.
Despite a promising start, Wilkins believes the EIAH should focus its attention on national, regional, and local governments, whose need for infrastructure advisory services is more acute than participants in the private sector.