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The Juncker's Investment Plan: Policy Fiasco or Policy Success?

Isabel Camisão, Paulo Vila Maior

As a result of the economic and financial crisis, the level of investment in the EU has dropped substantially. To overturn this unfavourable scenario, the European Commission launched in November 2014 a new European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) commonly known as the Juncker's Investment Plan. Set in partnership with the European Investment Bank, the Plan was aimed at boosting investment in the real economy, through a smart mobilization of public and private sources of finance channelled to strategic projects. Despite Juncker's personal commitment to the Plan, it was received with scepticism and criticisms from different stakeholders that pointed to the strong possibility of policy failure. Two years on, the Commission announced the success of the EFSI and even proposed to extend it both in terms of duration and financial capacity. Building on the argument that the verdict about a public policy often depends less on the results and more on the ability of its advocates to sell the idea or of its detractors to downplay its benefits, the aim of this paper is to assess Juncker's Investment Plan both in terms of performance and reputation. We use as theoretical framework an adaptation of Mark Bovens and Paul 't Hart's model of two logics of policy evaluation (political and programmatic) (1996; 2016), complemented with newer theoretical insights on policy failure and policy success, in order to answer the following main question: Is EFSI truly a success as claimed by the Commission?



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