EU raises first cash for recovery transformation, vows to spend it well

EU raises first cash for recovery transformation, vows to spend it well

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commision said it raised the first cash for its post-pandemic recovery and transformation scheme in a heavily oversubscribed bond sale on Tuesday and vowed the money would be spent in line with the about-to-be-approved national plans.

EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen confirmed the EU executive arm sold 20 billion euros worth of 10-year bonds in a syndicated sale that was more than seven times oversubscribed.

The Commission said in a statement that it was the largest ever institutional bond issuance in Europe, the largest institutional single tranche transaction and the largest amount the EU has raised in a single transaction.

Money from the bond sale, and from two others that will take place in June and July, will be transferred as pre-financing to governments whose plans to rebuild their economies after the pandemic greener and more digitalised are approved.

The Commission is to issue its assessments of the plans of Spain and Portugal on Wednesday, Greece and Denmark on Thursday and Luxembourg on Friday, with more to follow next week, von der Leyen said, adding she would travel to the countries concerned.

The Commission intends to borrow 80 billion euros in bonds and more in bills in 2021 to finance the economic transformation scheme that is to help Europe not emit any CO2 by 2050 and become more fit for the digital age.

“We need to invest this money well to make the best out of it… We have to make sure that the plans are in line with European priorities,” von der Leyen told a news conference.

“We know that on paper they are now, (but) we have to make sure that the implementation of these ambitious goals takes place and we will be very vigilant to make sure that this implementation is rigorous,” she said.

EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who was also present, said more than 50% of the AAA-rated bonds sold on Tuesday went to investors in the 27-nation EU, and around 13% to Asia and the Americas.

He said around 25% of the investors were central banks, 37% were bought by fund managers and 11% by insurance funds.

“We managed really to interest and attract long term investors, which clearly has been our goal, and I’m happy about this structure of investors,” Hahn said.

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