The European Investment Bank has some fascinating initiatives, many of which are fairly recent.
No doubt everyone has heard of JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) which in effect is a financial instrument for establishing Urban Development Funds.
I met JEREMIE the other day when investigating the possible impacts of the EU budget being limited to 2.9% per annum.
JEREMIE stands for Joint European REsources for MIcro to medium Enterprises; that’s a clever SME equivalent!
JEREMIE provides finance for venture capital and loans to SMEs to support the development of innavotive products by innovative businesses throughout the EU.
The UK isn’t doing too badly, so far:
- Yorkshire Forward is drawing down Eur 45 million to build up its regional venture capital fund;
- NWDA and Finance Wales are accessing Eur 75 million and Eur 62 million for their respective areas.
I would be interested to see how UK Government’s policies for growth are in line with (or alligned to) EU policy.
Apart from the economic logic behind our policy, it helps to be able access complementary funding from the EU Investment ‘Pot’.
What I’ve found highly frustrating is my lack of awareness of JEREMIE and other innovative products such as JASPER (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions) and ELENA (European Local Ennergy Assistance).
How can I be providing accurate funding advice to clients when I’m unaware of these innovative ‘packages’ being promoted by EIB?
Yes, I know, I should be carefully monitoring what’s in the pipeline. But shouldn’t these new ‘products’ be promoted by Government; by Treasury if not the individual Departments?
Why’s that then? I hear you ask. Because, I say, for example:
- If we understand how the Regional Growth Fund aligns with other funding mechanisms it provides a chance of thinking of ways to maximise potential additionality. E.g. RGF of £1.4 billion + Private Sector Matching of £1.4 billion = £2.8 billion ++ JEREMIE matching of £2.8 billion, gives us an extended RGF of £5.6 billion.
- If, as we know, the required economic growth is dependent on private sector innovation I kneed to be confident that the Private Sector are getting the message about access to all the required funding and finance to support that innovation. Perhaps risks associated with being ‘inventive’ and being ‘innovative’ can be better managed by improving our communication skills:- us with Government, Government with EU and us with EU.
Not so simples!!
But if the Private Sector doesn’t become an ‘informed’ partner/stakeholder, they are unlikely to respond in the way that we need them to.
I did hear that the Liverpool end of the North West JESSICA identified appropriate projects for its Urban Development Fund only when they discovered that the Manchester end said they had enough projects to use the whole of the £46 million regional pot.
There’s got to be some communication difficulty if one end of a region has a different perspective as to what ‘opportunity’ means.
Saddo that I am, I was reading the ‘’Euro 2020’’ strategy the other day. Its 3 priorities are well understood; the scale of its 5 targets are frightening.
Europe 2020 puts forward three mutually reinforcing priorities:
- Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation.
- Sustainable growth: promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy.
- Inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.
The EU needs to define where it wants to be by 2020. The Commission proposes the following headline targets:
- 75 % of the population aged 20-64 should be employed.
- 3% of the EU’s GDP should be invested in R&D.
- The “20/20/20″ climate/energy targets should be met (including an increase to 30% of emissions reduction if the conditions are right).
- The share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a tertiary degree.
- 20 million less people should be at risk of poverty.
‘’ These targets are interrelated and critical to our overall success. To ensure that each Member State tailors the Europe 2020 strategy to its particular situation, the Commission proposes that EU goals are translated into national targets and trajectories.’’
There are obviously Member States in a far worse position than the UK. That shouldn’t and mustn’t mean that we aren’t fighting for every Euro available to us, especially when we know our own contribution to the EU coffers will be increasing.
Maybe, though, the ‘communication problem’ lies in the use of the acronyms that are applied by the EIB.
Jessica, Jeremy, Jasper and Elena were never in the UK’s Top 10 Names until post 1066. Maybe some names with a more Anglo Saxon feel would make us more responsive. Here’s a couple for starters:
- the European Regional Investment Cooperative fund; and
- the British Overarching Borrowing bond.
Anyone with any other suggestions??