FI Campus 2018: 'What next for ESIF financial instruments? Creating new opportunities under the Omnibus Regulations', 3–5 December 2018, Brussels (including MRA working session – Presentation of projects, results and lessons learnt)
FI Campus 2018: what next for ESIF Financial Instruments?
Picture: Event overview
The 2nd annual FI Campus event was organised by the European Commission (DG REGIO, DG EMPL, DG AGRI and DG MARE) in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB). This year, over 360 participants from managing authorities, financial intermediaries and other stakeholders from 24 Member States met at the event. Under the general topic ‘What next for ESIF financial instruments? Creating new opportunities under the Omnibus Regulation’, FI Campus 2018 offered overall 29 sessions in a variety of formats such as plenary sessions, case study presentations and discussion roundtables, workshops, financial intermediaries panels and networking events.
The use of financial instruments in Cohesion Policy reaches record high
FI Campus was jointly opened by Eric von Breska, Director of the Policy Directorate at the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) of the European Commission, and Simon Barnes, Head of Advisory Services at the European Investment Bank.
Picture: Eric von Breska, Director Policy Directorate, DG REGIO, European Commission
Eric von Breska highlighted that 24 Member States had committed overall almost EUR 19 bn of programme resources to financial instruments by the end of 2017, out of which EUR 14.2 bn were resources of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Changes introduced by the Omnibus Regulation should facilitate further implementation of financial instruments. Eric von Breska also announced that in order to better meet the current needs of its target groups, the focus of fi-compass is shifting its activities to practical issues faced by its stakeholders on the ground. In his speech, the Director also provided insights into the key novelties proposed by the Commission for financial instruments for the next programming period.
Picture: Simon Barnes, Head of Advisory Services, EIB
Simon Barnes encouraged participants in his welcome address to use the opportunities created by the Omnibus Regulation. He referred to the inspiring examples that would be presented as part of the FI Campus 2018 programme and demonstrated how to combine resources from ESIF and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). He also announced the launch new activities of fi-compass. The Country Pages, a new online feature of the fi-compass website with details of the ESIF financial instruments set up in each Member State, was being launched at the event. Moreover, a fi-compass stocktaking exercise has been commenced to try to identify where the opportunities for new types of financial instruments lie and what types of support are needed in order to unlock the potential in these sectors.
Picture: Oana Dordain, Policy Officer, Financial Instruments and Relations with International Financial Institutions Unit, DG REGIO, European Commission, Frank Lee, Head of Financial Instruments Advisory Division, European Investment Bank
Stefan Appel, Head of Financial Instruments and International Financial Institutions Relations Unit, DG REGIO, presented a preview of the latest data on the use of ESIF financial instruments. The data showed that commitments had increased by 42% in 2017 and are well above amounts at closure of 2007-2013. As at end 2017, there were 379 financial instruments reported. All ESI Funds were used to co-finance the instruments. Overall 8 Thematic Objectives were supported by the instruments, mainly TO1, TO3 and TO4. The majority of instruments were loans, whereas guarantees provided the highest leverage. The disbursement to final recipients is in different stages. The Summary of the data on the progress made in financing and implementing the financial instruments for the programming period 2014-2020 in accordance with Article 46 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council presenting the situation as at 31 December 2017, is available here.
New opportunities under the Omnibus Regulation
Picture: Youssouf Cadjee and Jean-Pierre Legras, Direction des Affaires Économiques, Region La Réunion, France, George Giakoumakis, EIF, Jean-François Leprince, EIB, Emmanuelle Lacaille, Banque Française Commerciale Océan Indien, France
Day 2 of FI Campus 2018 focused on the new opportunities offered by the Omnibus Regulation, in particular for combining ESIF and EFSI resources. Oana Dordain, Policy Officer at the Financial Instruments and International Financial Institutions Relations Unit, DG REGIO, presented new provisions which are intended to simplify the rules for financial instruments, introducing new flexibilities for ESIF/EFSI combination. Frank Lee, Head of Financial Instruments Advisory Division, fi-compass team, complemented the outlook with potential new models that utilise the new rules to mobilise additional investment in priority sectors. The plenary session provided participants also with the opportunity to ask questions about combination of ESIF and EFSI resources.
Subsequently, participants had the chance to hear first-hand insights from managing authorities, financial intermediaries and other involved stakeholders how combination of resources in financial instruments is being undertaken to support specific sectors in a number of Member States and regions. This included case study and roundtable sessions showcasing examples of support:
Picture: Event participant
- for SMEs: La Réunion in France and EquiFund in Greece,
- for low carbon economy: the Mayor of London’s Energy Efficiency Fund in United Kingdom and CAP TRI in the Hauts-de-France Region in France,
- for urban development: the Urban Development Fund in Bulgaria,
- for social innovation under the European Social Fund (ESF): the Social Innovation Initiative and Social Impact Bonds Programme in Portugal and the Social Impact Bond in the Piedmont region, Italy, and
- under the European Agricultural Funds for Rural Development (EAFRD): the Credit Fund for rural development in the Lombardy region in Italy.
Participants could attend also workshops to discuss key horizontal topics in implementation of ESIF financial instruments: management verification and audit, State aid and the future needs for technical assistance.
Deepening the exchange between peers
Picture: Emily Smith, EIB, Cecília Gyalog, MFB Hungarian Development Bank, Juris Vaskāns, Altum, Latvia, Marina Marasović, Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR)
Financial intermediaries, including national promotional banks and institutions (NPBIs) and private sector financial institutions, play an important role in the implementation of ESIF financial instruments. Day 3 opened with two parallel panel sessions where financial intermediaries and fund of funds managers discussed key challenges and lessons learnt in managing debt (loans and guarantees) and equity financial instruments.
Subsequently, further examples of ESIF financial instruments were presented by involved authorities. This included case studies and roundtable sessions on:
- financial instruments supporting RD&I: the MIUR financial instruments in Sardinia in Italy and the FOSTER project in the Occitanie Region in France,
- the role of NPBIs and multi-sector funds-of-funds: MFB Hungarian Development Bank, Altum in Croatia and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR),
- student loan instruments under the ESF: Financial Instruments in the National Operational Programme Research and Innovation (NOP R&I) in Italy,
- combination of EAFRD and EFSI: Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France and Programme de Développement Rural 2014-2020 in Portugal.
Picture: Jonathan Denness, DG REGIO, European Commission
FI Campus 2018 was closed by Jonathan Denness, Head of Unit at the Competence Centre Closure and Major Projects at DG REGIO, European Commission, and Frank Lee, Head of Financial Instruments Advisory Division, fi-compass team.
In order to facilitate the peer-to-peer exchange between participants, FI Campus 2018 provided ample networking opportunities throughout the event. In addition, participants could read about a number of case studies, explore audio-visual resources of fi-compass, get a first glance at the new fi-compass Country Pages and check their knowledge about financial instruments in the interactive exhibition accompanying the event.
Multi-region assistance (MRA) – Presentation of projects, results and lessons learned
Picture: MRA working session – Presentation of projects, results and lessons learnt
The working session titled ‘Multi-region assistance for the assessment of the potential use of financial instruments supported by the ERDF, CF, ESF and EAFRD’ was organised as a side event on day 3 of FI Campus 2018.
The session featured presentations of the three projects that benefited from multi-region assistance (MRA), one of the strands of technical assistance offered under fi-compass:
- RICE – Revolving Investments in Cities (Netherlands, United Kingdom and Italy),
- IFISE – Innovative Financial Instruments in support to the Social Economy (Italy and Spain), and
- Enhancement capacity of FIs application in consistency with other forms of public interventions (Lithuania and Croatia).
Presentations of the projects, their results and lessons learned were followed by comprehensive Q&A sessions with the participants.