JESSICA: Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas

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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.

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.

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.

  • 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.

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.

Special support instruments

Related links

  • EIB-JESSICA EnglishDeutschfrançais
  • CEB