President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed an eagerly-awaited public-private €315 billion investment plan.
"Europe needs a kick-start and today the Commission is providing the jump cable," Mr Juncker told the European Parliament as he announced the new fund, a cornerstone of his five-year tenure.
Officials hope that a range of infrastructure projects across the EU, from transport to energy to internet broadband, which have been stalled through a lack of investment, will be nudged forward through Mr Juncker's plan.
A similar growth initiative in 2012, involving the European Investment Bank, is thought to have failed to take off because the Luxembourg-based investment bank was reluctant to jeopardise its AAA rating by loosening its lending and investment approach.
The €315bn plan is the first flagship initiative of the Juncker presidency.
The former Luxembourg prime minister has made jobs, growth and investment the key priority of his mandate.
The EU's new chief executive told the European Parliament in Strasbourg that his plan would be the third leg of a strategy to get Europeans back to work.
Mr Juncker acknowledged criticism of the plan for lacking a major component of new public spending.
EU officials say the EU is setting aside just €8bn to help provide €21bn of capital for a special fund, managed with the European Investment Bank, which they believe can trigger €315bn of investment over the next three years.
However, Mr Juncker insisted that the EU was not just "moving money around, saying that adding to public debt would not help.
"We don't have a money-printing machine. We need to attract money to make it work for us."
He believed Europe was in an "investment trap", where private investors were hesitating to commit funds despite being awash with liquidity, some of it provided by the European Central Bank as it tries to stave off deflation.
By providing guarantees to absorb the initial risks of key projects that could improve Europe's infrastructure, Mr Juncker said the EU could draw in more private investment.
The president of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, told politicians his institution was ready to work quickly to get money flowing.
He acknowledged that "this is not the silver bullet" for Europe's economic woes, but it was a useful part of EU strategy.