Several new tools and initiatives have been developed to enable the most efficient and sustainable use of Structural and Cohesion Funds in the 2007-13 period. These initiatives pool expertise in the field of financial engineering, ensuring that the investments maintain their impact and contribute to the long-term development of regions.
The sound financial management of cohesion policy instruments can enhance public investments. In order to achieve this, the European Commission has developed instruments with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Council of Europe Bank (CEB). These help Member States and regions in implementing financial engineering schemes.
- JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises), an initiative of the European Commission, the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF), enhances the access of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to finance. Products include equity, venture capital, guarantees, loans and technical assistance which will allow a multiplier effect of the EU funds by using revolving financial products instead of grants. The EIF, and national and regional authorities, design tailored schemes for SMEs in all sectors. JEREMIE is expected to contribute substantially towards improving access to finance for SMEs in about 20 Member States involving ERDF resources in the order of €2.5 billion.
- JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas), an initiative of the Commission in cooperation with the EIB and the CEB to promote sustainable investment in urban projects and programmes. It connects Member States, regions and cities with the European banking and financial sector for more and better investment in cities. Resources from operational programmes to be invested under JESSICA can be transferred to urban development funds, and co-financing can come from municipalities, banks, pension funds or investment funds.
- JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions) is a joint Commission-EIB-EBRD technical assistance facility to prepare major projects in the twelve Member States that joined the Union in 2004 and 2007. It was created because of the lack of experience and institutional capacity in the 'new' Member States. JASPERS became operational in autumn 2006 and is now close to full strength and is operating successfully in all twelve beneficiary countries. It has 3 operational offices in Warsaw, Vienna and Bucharest, employing a staff of 54 professionals and an active portfolio of 227 projects.
- JASMINE (JASMINE, Joint Action to Support Micro-finance Institutions in Europe) which seeks to improve access to finance for small businesses and for socially excluded people, also ethnic minorities, who want to become self-employed. This initiative, in line with the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs, aims to make small loans, or micro-credit, more widely available in Europe to satisfy unmet demand.