EU fin mins yesterday gathered in Milan and tasked the European Commission, the EU executive, and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to draw up a list of projects that would create growth and decide how to finance them.

They are seeking to attract billions of euros without getting deeper into debt, considering options ranging from a pan-European capital market to a huge investment fund.

To finance them, the ministers discussed four ideas that have already been kicked around in some circles:

  • Italian paper on new financing tools for companies,
  • Franco-German proposal on how to boost private investments
  • Polish proposal on creating a joint EU fund worth 700 billion euros ($907 billion)
  • a call from incoming European Commission President Juncker for a €300 bln investment programme

The ECB’s plan to resurrect a market for ABS purchases it still very much on the table and would be another financing tool

Italy’s econ min Padoan said

We have given a mandate to the Commission and the EIB to swiftly present an initial report on practical measures that can be taken, on profitable investment projects that are justifiable

while French fin min Spain said

We don’t have a magic wand but we need growth, we need to stimulate demand without taking on debt.We need the right mix of public and private money.

Last Thursday ECB’s Draghi warned in grave tones about the decline in business investment in a speech to EU fin mins that Adam covered here.

Reuters carries this on yesterday’s meeting

I guess anything that helps the beleagured Eurozone revive its economy should be welcomed but this does smack a little of last-chance saloon doesn’t it?