Financial Instruments in Cohesion Policy

Financial instruments help to trigger investments on the ground for revenue-generating and cost-saving activities while maximising private investment with minimum public support to deliver the Cohesion Policy objectives of economic, social and territorial cohesion. Financial instruments represent a more efficient and sustainable alternative to complement traditional grant-based support. The European Regional and Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund support projects on the ground through financial products, such as loans, guarantees and equity

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    FI Campus 2019, the annual flagship event of fi-compass, took place on 4 and 5 December 2019 in Brussels. fi-compass is the horizontal advisory services platform on financial instruments under European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), provided by the European Commission in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The annual FI Campus event was organised already for the third consecutive year and attracted this year again over 400 practitioners from ESIF managing authorities, financial intermediaries and other stakeholders involved in ESIF financial instruments.

    ESIF financial instruments include e.g. loans, guarantees, equity and quasi-equity. According to the proposed new Common Provisions Regulation (CPR), they will remain an important delivery mechanism of ESIF resources also in the 2021-2027 programming period. With this year’s slogan ‘Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond’, FI Campus 2019 offered participants a versatile programme including:

    • Comprehensive and interactive information sessions on the proposed new CPR as well as the InvestEU Programme;
    • Workshops on horizontal topics related to ESIF financial instruments, such as State aid as well as audit and control;
    • Case study sessions on financial instruments under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) in a range of different sectors such as urban development, SME competitiveness and research development and innovation (RDI);
    • Parallel sessions covering financial instruments under the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

    Presentations from the event are made available on the FI Campus 2019 event page . In case of additional questions related to the European Commission’s presentations at FI Campus 2019 on the new proposed CPR and the InvestEU Programme, please contact:

    Picture: Jonathan Denness, Head of Financial Instruments and International Financial Institutions Relations Unit, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission 

    Short interview with Jonathan Denness, Head of Financial Instruments and International Financial Institutions Relations Unit, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission

    What were your impressions from FI Campus 2019?

    The high number of FI Campus 2019 participants has again shown how much interest there is in ESIF financial instruments and how keen stakeholders are to learn about this topic. This demonstrated that FI Campus is definitely one of the most important events in the year and that the partnership between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to deliver fi-compass is very strong. Fi-compass assists managing authorities and national promotional banks and institutions (NPBIs) to deliver ESIF financial instruments on the ground.

    What did you look ahead to the most at this year’s FI Campus event?

    At this year’s FI Campus, we focussed especially on the explanation of the proposed new regulatory framework in the 2021-2027 programming period and the new opportunities to deliver ESIF financial instruments then. This included comprehensive presentations by multiple stakeholders on the proposed new CPR and the InvestEU Programme. European Commission experts explained at FI Campus 2019 also key horizontal topics related to ESIF financial instruments such as State aid and audit and control. Finally, the fi-compass Showcase 2019 with stories of the positive impact of ESIF financial instruments delivering new projects  was also an important part of this year’s FI Campus.

    The theme of this year’s FI Campus was ‘looking ahead to 2021 and beyond’ – What is your view on the future of ESIF financial instruments?

    I think the future is very bright. In our new regulatory framework proposal, we have significantly simplified the rules and have given more opportunities to become creative with ESIF financial instruments. An example are the simplified the rules on the combination of grants and financial instruments: combinations are now possible also within the same operation. We also included the possibility of contributing some of the Cohesion Policy resources to the Member State compartment of the InvestEU Programme. These are big new opportunities to help deliver projects on the ground. Overall, I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to the growth of the amount of financial instruments in the 2021-2027 programming period, both under shared management programmes and under the InvestEU Programme.



More news

We are facing important challenges in Europe. We need to continue boosting economic growth and creating employment. We must do more with less and this can be achieved through financial instruments.

Commission services are committed to making this smarter use of EU resources through financial instruments as a more efficient and sustainable alternative to complement traditional grant-based support. It should be pointed out that financial instruments are not an end in themselves but a policy delivery mechanism.

Besides the obvious advantages of leveraging additional resources and recycling funds over the long term, the repayable nature of financial instruments offers incentives to better performance, including greater financial discipline at the level of supported projects. Last but not least, the reflows from these investments become resources at the disposal of national authorities, that can subsequently be reinvested into further projects.

ESIF and EFSI complementarities

  • European Structural and Investment Funds and European Fund for Strategic Investments complementarities: Ensuring coordination, synergies and complementarity en pdf



Track the progress in financial instruments under the ESI Funds, their thematic and national allocation and how they are used with our Data Platform.

View the data

Need to know more?

The fi-compass platform maintains a library of documents, country pages, examples and events


European Commission - DG Regional Policy
Unit B3 - Financial Instruments and relations with International Financial Institutions
Avenue de Beaulieu 5
B-1160 Brussels
Tel: 32 2 29 59332
Fax: +32 2 292 0904