Jobs and growth have been the top priority of this Commission since it took office. With 454 million euro to be invested in Europe over 2014-2020, the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds are a pillar of the EU's growth and jobs agenda.
I want to emphasize the huge benefits that could be gained by combining the ESI Funds with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan.
It can help bring investment to regions and sectors where the EFSI has had rather limited take-up so far, and support strategic investments in key areas such as infrastructure, research and innovation, and support to small businesses.
Vice-President Katainen and I have presented guidelines on combining the Funds for Managing Authorities everywhere in Europe and I really wish to see quality joint projects get off the ground.
I know some are in the pipelines in many Member States – in Sweden, in Lithuania, in Estonia, and we already have one signed in France, but I really stress that more needs to be done. Here in Poland, the potential is huge, especially in the energy efficiency sector.
On our side, we are working to simplify this "blending" of the Funds and exploring what can be done, in the context of the reflection on the Multiannual Financial Framework review. And my services stand ready to provide all the necessary assistance to local authorities.
But I want national and local authorities to spread the word and fully seize these opportunities. The Investment Plan and the ESI Funds reinforce each other and they have one goal – to get Europe growing again.