EU finance ministers agreed the details of a €315bn (£224bn, $338bn) investment plan on 10 March to help revive the European economy without piling up more debt.

Investment has fallen by 15% to 20% since 2008. The aim to get the first projects going by the end of the year.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem backed the plan which he said now needs to be approved by the European Parliament.

The four-year plan fleshes out a call by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to back riskier projects from airports to railways and to confront the fall in investment since the financial crisis.

Setting up the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) has been sensitive, with EU governments fearful of not having their projects chosen from a list of almost 2,000 projects worth €1.3tn that countries put forward.

Finance ministers gathered in Brussels will also grant France two more years to cut its budget deficit to within EU limits, extending the deadline for the third time since 2009 as Paris struggles to enact reforms.

The euro zones second biggest economy has repeatedly missed deadlines and budget consolidation targets and, under EU budget rules sharpened during the sovereign debt crisis, was facing fines of up to €4bn by late last year.

But the European Commission, which prepares the ministers decision, recommended an extension of the deadline to 2017 from 2015 to give Paris more time to implement reforms and cut spending at a time of weak economic growth and low inflation.