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Brussels, 22 October 2009

JEREMIE & JESSICA: Innovative financial instruments help regions and cities to overcome their investment needs

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group are organising a conference in Brussels on 22 and 23 October to further promote two initiatives designed to increase the use of financial engineering instruments in the framework of cohesion policy. The current economic crisis reinforces the need to use tools like JEREMIE and JESSICA which can help regions and cities to meet their investment needs.

Commenting ahead of the event, Pawe ł Samecki, European Commissioner for Regional Policy said: "In the context of the economic slowdown, JEREMIE and JESSICA are key tools to support small and medium enterprises - first casualties of the crisis - and to help implement urban projects which can be a good catalyst for local economies. Today's conference aims at raising awareness and provides a platform of exchange for regions and cities which are already using these initiatives and hope it will inspire others to follow in their footsteps."

National and regional authorities are confronted with growing investment needs while the available public resources become more and more scarce. This clearly emphasises the need to use available EU funding in the most effective way and at the same time to find complementary sources of investment.

As part of the continuing effort to make the cohesion policy more effective, the European Commission announced in 2005, in close collaboration with the European Investment Bank Group new instruments that permit that managing authorities use some of their Structural Funds allocations to invest in revolving funds - rather than once-off grant financing - and so encourage recyclable forms of assistance, moving away from an exclusive reliance on grants.

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. It provides enhanced support to Member States and regions to invest in sustainable urban development and regeneration projects.

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 medium, small and micro enterprises, in particular through the supply of venture capital, loans, guarantees, micro-credit and other forms of innovative financing.

On the fourth anniversary of the announcement of these instruments, the conference will provide a forum for exchange of information, guidance and good practice.

JEREMIE is in operation in Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, France (Languedoc-Roussillon, Auvergne), Spain (Cataluña, Andalusia), UK (Wales, North-East England), Poland (Pomerania, Western Pomerania, Wielkopolska, Lower Silesia, Lodzkie) and Italy (Campania).

For the moment, eight JESSICA operations have been implemented in Estonia, Germany (Brandenburg), Lithuania, Poland (Wielkopolska and Western Pomerania), Portugal, Spain (Andalusia) and United Kingdom (London).

In this way, JEREMIE and JESSICA will build up by the end of 2015 a lasting funding legacy of EU and national public money, to be recycled and reinvested in the long term for the benefit of SMEs and in the field of urban development all over the European Union.

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