CPRAM launches a new thematic equity fund focused on european sovereignty
On the 6th of April, CPRAM unveiled its new thematic fund, CPR Invest – European Strategic Autonomy, at a conference held at the Cercle National des Armées for about 100 clients and featuring the French Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu, and Michel Barnier, a former French Minister of foreign affairs. This was followed by an online conference for an international audience.
CPRAM has launched CPR Invest – European Strategic Autonomy, the first actively managed European equity fund whose goal is to finance greater European sovereignty.
This new and ambitious thematic fund was launched via an extensive marketing campaign, including trainings sessions for Amundi’s global sales team (to train them in the thematic), a press conference and a breakfast conference featuring prestigious guests. CPRAM’s senior management indeed had the honour of welcoming at the historic setting of the Cercle National des Armées, Sébastien Lecornu, French Defence Minister, and Michel Barnier, European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom (2019-2021), French Minister of Foreign Affairs (2004- 2005).
Accelerating Europe’s sovereignty agenda by calling on private capital – the ton had been set at this conference hosted by Jean-Jacques Barbéris, Head of Institutional and Corporate Clients Division and ESG at Amundi and Chairman of CPRAM; and Olivier Mariée, Chief Executive Officer of CPRAM.
A commitment to European strategic independence
In his introductory speech, Jean-Jacques Barbéris stressed out Amundi’s natural role, as a European financier, to commit itself to European strategic independence at a time when “Europe is facing a strategic turning point, when concepts of sovereignty and a powerful Europe can and must become realities in industry, energy, food and defence.”
Sébastien Lecornu, French Defence Minister, spoke at length on the challenges facing the French system of defence. “We are fortunate to have a sovereign defence industry. But this is possible only if we have easy access to financing. I therefore salute the creation of a fund that will finance our defence in a sovereign manner.”
The Minister also spoke on the importance of private investments in supporting the European ecosystem, saluting “the creation of funds that will finance our defence in a sovereign way. After all, the state cannot take on this financing alone.”
Olivier Mariée then described how this new investment strategy dedicated to financing Europe’s strategic autonomy came about. Successive crises (Covid, the war in Ukraine, and the energy and climate crises) have reinforced a long-standing conviction – Europe’s strategic autonomy is a guarantee of its sovereignty. “Europe must retain control over its decision-making, reduce its dependencies, and continue to protect its citizens. It must also build a development model that generates a certain level of prosperity and integrates the climate transition”. Financing of European strategic autonomy is now supported by many European public plans, which must be supplemented with heavy private investments.
Europe’s strategic dependencies
Bastien Drut, Head of Strategy and Economic Research at CPRAM, then laid out a broad view of the European Union’s dependencies. “The trade balance went from a surplus of more than 200 billion euros to a deficit of more than 300 billion in 2022”. He highlighted “European Union’s heavy dependence, which is undermining its industrial competitiveness”. Much of this is due to the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine and the spike in natural gas prices. However, Europe’s dependence is not just in energy. Drut also mentioned its dependence on the raw materials needed to support the energy transition, and its healthcare dependence.
To meet these challenges, Damien Mariette, lead portfolio manager of CPR Invest – European Strategic Autonomy, detailed how these dependencies are being addressed within this new strategy. CPR Invest – European Strategic Autonomy aims to help build a more resilient Europe while seeking to benefit from market opportunities linked to the thematic around four main pillars: industrialisation, food, healthcare and defence. Industrialisation, in particular, is a key issue for the European Union. “Most of its current dependencies are due to the depletion of our European industrial fabric”.
Mariette added that “Moderna was a true failure for Europe. We can’t afford to let that happen again. We must have the tools to bring about the Moderna of tomorrow. This will require private initiatives as well as broad-based financial support and the adoption of new EU legislation.”
Michel Barnier closed the discussions by presenting the economic and political challenges of a sovereign, united and solidarity-based Europe. The former French foreign minister recapped the geopolitical context of the past 15 years and the lessons to be drawn from the various crises that have come one after the other, including the 2008 financial crisis, the migration crisis caused by the war in Iraq and Syria, the Brexit crisis, the Covid-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine. “To be free, Europeans must be independent! Reducing our dependencies in energy, food, new technologies and security requires a concerted and sustained effort by the European Union and each government, as well as by private-sector players.”