The European Commission presented a plan for €300bn of largely private new investment in the European Union, saying it was time to kick-start growth without adding to public debt.
Underlining the need to pursue structural reforms to ailing economies and pare back debt and deficits run up during the financial crisis, the EU's new chief executive said his plan was the third leg of a strategy to get Europeans back to work.
"Europe needs a kick-start and today the Commission is applying the jump leads," Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a conservative former prime minister of Luxembourg, told the European Parliament.
He acknowledged criticism that the plan lacks a major new public spending component. The EU is setting aside just €8bn and the European Investmet Bank €5bn to help provide €21bn of capital for a special fund to be managed with the EIB. The cash is to unlock €300bn of investment over the next three years to create a million jobs.
The parliament's main political groups cautiously welcomed the plan, saying that while they would have liked the capital of the investment fund to be higher, it was still a good start.