The Beacon Summer 2020

Dear readers,
Welcome to this special summer edition of the fi‑compass Beacon newsletter. The European Commission’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and CRII Plus has provided additional flexibility to enable ESIF financial instruments to play their part in the response of Member States to the COVID-19 outbreak. To support the response, fi‑compass has produced a new factsheet and hosted a webinar on the topic, as well as featuring some examples of best practice in our news reports. We have brought all the relevant publications together in this newsletter to provide you with a single point of access to the materials, which are all available on the fi‑compass website
The European Commission has already signaled the need to continue and develop the response to the crisis into the 2021-2027 cohesion policy programme period. ESIF financial instruments will be an important tool to support recovery and growth in the long term based on the twin objectives of a green and digital transition. To enable managing authorities to take full advantage of ESIF financial instruments in the next programming period a number of fi‑compass studies have been published. We include in this newsletter the recent Member State specific studies in the AGRI sector, three studies relating to ERDF financial instruments and our forthcoming event and manual on crowdfunding and ESF opportunities.

Finally, as many of you will have noticed we have launched a new podcast series, the fi‑compass Jam Sessions, where you can hear fi‑compass experts and practitioners discuss current hot topics relating to financial instruments. We hope the new format provides you with a different way to engage with our content. If you have any suggestions for future editions we would love to hear from you. You can contact us at
The fi‑compass team
New fi-compass factsheet - Responding to the COVID-19 crisis through financial instruments
This factsheet features the new flexibilities under CRII and CRII Plus and shows how they can be used to facilitate support to EU businesses through ESIF financial instruments. It describes how ESIF financial instruments can play their part in the response of Member States to the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the continued supply of affordable finance to individuals and businesses most affected by the crisis.
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Responding to COVID-19
COVID-19 in Slovakia: a first ESIF instrument to help SMEs hit by the crisis
In less than a month, Slovak Investment Holding (SIH) launched its SIH Anti-Corona Guarantee, a new financial instrument to help SMEs overcome the financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 crisis and help preserve jobs. It is one of the first products introduced by National Promotional Banks and Institutions in the EU after the outbreak of COVID-19, which employs European Structural and Investment Funds. Ivan Lesay, CEO of SIH and a member of the EIB Board of Directors explains how this instrument was conceived and what the main benefits are for those who need it most.
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New fi-compass studies to support EAFRD managing authorities for the 2021-2027 period
These fi-compass studies on financial needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in 24 EU Member States are now online and available for download. The studies investigate the financing needs of the agriculture and agri-food sectors in these EU Member States, drawing on the results of two EU-level surveys focusing on access to finance conditions of more than 7 600 farmers and 2 200 agri-food enterprises. These publications aim to support EAFRD managing authorities in planning and programming the use of financial instruments in their CAP Strategic Plans for the 2021-2027 programming period. It is clear, from the various analyses, that the funding gap in this area is significant and it is therefore recommended generally that MAs consider more use of financial instruments, in the next MFF, to bridge that gap and attract more private investment into these sectors.
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Greece: a EUR 750 million interest rate subsidy for businesses affected by COVID-19 outbreak
Greece has put in place very quickly a EUR 750 million interest rate subsidy operation under the EU State aid Temporary Framework to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. To benefit from this scheme, companies must demonstrate that they faced difficulties because of the COVID-19 outbreak and that they will maintain the same number of employees at least until the end of 2020.
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Three new studies for ERDF financial instruments
Three new fi‑compass studies have been published that are designed to support ERDF managing authorities and their partners preparing proposals for financial instruments under their Operational Programmes. The reports respectively relate to SME financing, Energy Performance Contracting and the development of financial instruments in new sectors such as Environment, ICT and Renewable Energy.
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fi-compass Webinar – ESIF financial instruments under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative
The European Commission – DG REGIO, DG AGRI and DG EMPL in partnership with the European Investment Bank organised on 11 May 2020 the fi‑compass webinar on ‘ESIF financial instruments under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative’. Over 500 participants from managing authorities, financial intermediaries, EU institutions and other ESIF stakeholders joined this virtual event, organised to shed light on the new flexibilities for ESIF financial instruments under CRII and CRII Plus.
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Crowdfunding and ESF opportunities – fi‑compass webinar and manual
fi-compass is raising awareness on the possibilities offered by combining crowdfunding and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF or ESI Funds), with emphasis on the European Social Fund (ESF). The upcoming webinar 'Crowfunding and ESF opportunities: future perspectives for managing authorities', taking place on 6 July 2020, from 14:00 until 16:15 CET, and a manual that will soon be published will explore this important new topic.
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Amendments to the Common Provisions Regulation - new flexibilities for financial instruments to respond to COVID-19 outbreak
As part of CRII and CRII Plus, the Common Provisions Regulation has been amended to enable ESI Funds to be mobilised by Member States and respond quickly to the outbreak. The first amending regulation came into force on 1 April 2020 followed on 23 April 2020 by a second amending regulation. Other measures introduced included the State aid Temporary Framework and Commission Guidance on public procurement.
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fi‑compass Jam Sessions: A new series of podcasts launched
fi-compass has launched a new podcast series the fi-compass Jam Sessions. The podcasts will be informal and accessible with the aim of generating new insights through the exchange of expertise between practitioners. The podcasts are aimed at a wide range of stakeholders with different levels of knowledge of financial instruments. The first three editions have already been published providing three different perspectives on how financial instruments can be used to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and further editions are planned throughout the summer.
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