Europe

EU to extend investment plan until 2022 to boost growth

The head of the European Union's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, adjusts his tie next to the head of the president's cabinet, Martin Selmayer, left, as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his State of the European Union address to the European parliament that the EU "still does not have enough Union."(AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

The head of the European Union's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, adjusts his tie next to the head of the president's cabinet, Martin Selmayer, left, as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his State of the European Union address to the European parliament that the EU "still does not have enough Union."(AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union is extending its investment plan for a further three years in order to boost growth and employment.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday that he's aiming to generate 630 billion euros ($707 billion) worth of public and private investment by 2022.

The initial aim of the Investment Plan for Europe, which was first announced last year, was to mobilize 315 billion euros over three years.

The fund aims to reduce risks for private investors and encourage them to spend on strategic projects like broadband or energy.

Juncker told European lawmakers that the Commission wants to meet a first target of half a trillion euros by 2020.

He said the investment drive has already raised 116 billion euros and provided loans for 200,000 small firms and startups.