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JESSICA: Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas

What is JESSICA?

JESSICA - Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas, is an initiative of the European Commission developed in co-operation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB).  It supports sustainable urban development and regeneration through financial engineering mechanisms.

EU countries can choose to invest some of their EU structural fund allocations in revolving funds to help recycle financial resources to accelerate investment in Europe's urban areas.

What assistance does JESSICA provide?

JESSICA promotes sustainable urban by supporting projects in the following areas:

  • urban infrastructure – including transport, water/waste water, energy
  • heritage or cultural sites – for tourism or other sustainable uses
  • redevelopment of brownfield sites – including site clearance and decontamination
  • creation of new commercial floor space for SMEs, IT and/or R&D sectors
  • university buildings – medical, biotech and other specialised facilities
  • energy efficiency improvements.

How does JESSICA work?

Contributions from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) are allocated to Urban Development Funds (UDFs) which invest them in public-private partnerships or other projects included in an integrated plan for sustainable urban development. These investments can take the form of equity, loans and/or guarantees.

Alternatively, managing authorities can decide to channel funds to UDFs using Holding Funds (HFs) which are set up to invest in several UDFs.

This is not compulsory, but does offer the advantage of enabling managing authorities to delegate some of the tasks required to implement JESSICA to expert professionals.

Owing to the revolving nature of the instruments, returns from investments are reinvested in new urban development projects, thereby recycling public funds and promoting the sustainability and impact of EU and national public money.

What are the advantages of using JESSICA?

  • Sustainability – Financial engineering instruments such as JESSICA are based on the provision of repayable assistance from the structural funds to investments which should generate returns and in this way pay back investors. This offers a more sustainable alternative to the assistance traditionally provided through grants.
  • Leverage – by combining structural funds with other sources of funding that may already exist, JESSICA will boost resources making it easier to provide support to a larger number of projects.
  • Flexibility – JESSICA offers flexibility, both in terms of structure, and in the use of funds by way of either equity, debt or guarantee investment, which can be tailored to the specific needs of particular countries and regions.
  • Expertise – JESSICA enables structural fund managing authorities, cities and towns to engage with the private and banking sectors. This helps to leverage further investment, as well as technical and financial capacity in project implementation and management.
  • Partnerships – JESSICA is the result of the partnership established between the Commission, EIB and CEB,  It can also act as a powerful catalyst for the establishment of partnerships between countries, regions, cities, EIB, CEB, other banks, investors, etc. to address the problems faced by urban areas.

JESSICA Networking Platform

The JESSICA Networking Platform was launched in 2009 by the Commission (DG Regional Policy) in co-operation with the EIB/CEB and the EIF to support the implementation of JESSICA.


Background documents

  • Memorandum of understanding between European Commission, European Investment Bank and Council of Europe Development Bank: "A co-ordinated approach to the financing of urban renewal and development for the programming period 2007-2013 of the Community Structural Funds" pdf
  • JESSICA evaluation studies analyzing the market for financial engineering instruments in support of sustainable urban development and recommendations or proposals for appropriate action in the Member States and regions concerned.
  • JESSICA horizontal studies providing guidance on operational matters relevant to all stakeholders
  • Legislative provisions and guidance notes related to the financial engineering instruments.
  • JESSICA implementation in the EU Member States. State of play (November 2011)pdf English
  • Financial Engineering Instruments Implemented by Member States with ERDF Contributions. Synthesis Report pdf English Annexes pdf English
  • Financial Instruments in Cohesion Policy - SWD(2012) 36 final Commission staff working document, 27/02/2012 pdf English
  • Summary report on the progress made in financing and implementing financial engineering instruments co-financed by Structural Funds. Programming period 2007-2013 (Situation as at 31 December 2011) pdf English
    • Annex 1 pdf English
    • Annex 2 pdf English
  • Financial Instruments: A Stock-taking Exercise in Preparation for the 2014-2020 Programming Period pdf English - TA Survey Analysis pdf English
  • Summary of data on the progress made in financing and implementing financial engineering instruments reported by the managing authorities in accordance with Article 67(2)(j) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006. Programming period 2007-2013 (situation as at 31 December 2012) pdf English


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