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Three new initiatives for cohesion policy launched in Brussels by Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner and international financial institutions

Commission Européenne - IP/06/693   30/05/2006

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IP/06/693

Brussels, 30 May 2006

Three new initiatives for cohesion policy launched in Brussels by Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner and international financial institutions

In the presence of Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, European Investment Bank (EIB) President Philippe Maystadt and the heads of other international financial institutions signed today in Brussels three new cohesion policy joint initiatives to deliver more investment, growth and jobs to the regions. JASPERS (Joint Assistance in Supporting Projects in European Regions) will help the national and regional authorities to prepare large infrastructure projects while JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) will improve access to finance for micro to medium-sized enterprises. - JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) aims to provide solutions to the financing of projects for urban renewal and development using a combination of grants and loans.

The launching took the form of the signing of three memoranda of understanding between the institutions involved. In particular, JASPERS was signed also by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) President Jean Lemierre, JEREMIE by European Investment Fund (EIF) Chief Executive Francis Carpenter, and JESSICA by Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) Governor Raphael Alomar.

The three memoranda present the way the joint approach and work of the partners will be organised regarding each of the three - initiatives. In legal terms, the initiatives are foreseen by the new regulations for the Structural Funds which are now in the process of final adoption by the Council and the Parliament.

President Barroso said: “These initiatives show how cohesion policy is right at the cutting edge of how we promote growth and jobs.”

Commissioner Hübner said: "JASPERS, JEREMIE and JESSICA are already well known and have created new dynamics and expectations for investment, growth and jobs in the Member States and regions, as well among the social partners across all the regions of the European Union". She added that "the new initiatives have also created expectations and ambitions for enhanced contribution and involvement of the international financial institutions, of the European banks and more generally of the European financial sector, to the financing and implementation of the new Cohesion policy programmes for the period 2007-2013".

This enhanced involvement of the international financial institutions and the European financial sector will contribute additional financial and technical expertise, energy and human resources for more and better projects, more and better investments in undertakings, as well in public private partnerships and projects for sustainable urban development. Furthermore, it will leverage additional loan capital from the international financial institutions, as well as private capital from European banks and investors, to complement scarce public resources, European and national, for more investments, growth and jobs.

Background

The initiatives were presented by the Commission and the Banks at the Ministerial meeting of 11 October 2005, as well at the November 2005 conference of the Commission and the international financial institutions with the regions and the social partners, on "Financing growth and cohesion in the enlarges European Union".

JASPERS (Joint Assistance in Supporting Projects in European Regions) is a partnership between the Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It aims to improve the preparation of major projects to be co-financed by the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in particular in the new Member States, during the next period 2007-2013. It foresees using the technical and financial expertise of the banks to strengthen the capacity of national and regional authorities, helping them to deliver high-quality project proposals which will make efficient use of EU funds and mobilise additional sources of funding.

JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) is a joint initiative of the Commission and the European Investment Fund with the European Investment Bank. It aims to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and in particular the supply of micro credit, venture capital, loan or guarantees and other forms of innovative financing. It is aimed especially at micro to medium-sized enterprises. JEREMIE means that SMEs in all regions will be able to benefit from tailored financial engineering products. It is a direct response to the challenge of continuous economic adjustment, and in this context the JEREMIE Memorandum of Understanding organises the joint approach between the Commission and the EIF in this respect.

JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) is a joint initiative of the Commission, the European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank. The parties involved, already experienced in the field of lending for urban development and renewal, as well for social housing, have agreed in the context of the Urban/JESSICA memorandum, to work closely with the Commission in the framework of the new ERDF programmes, where they have an urban development component. The aim is to combine the grants under the programmes for urban development and renewal, or social housing where appropriate, with the loans and the expertise of the Banks for urban development and renewal, including social housing. The Banks have also committed themselves to a more streamlined approach to lending in this field of urban development, making it more user-friendly for end-users.


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