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

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


  • New European Bauhaus territorial development model (NEB TDM) financial instrument

    Published in 2022

    The model aims to assist the managing authorities in setting up financial instruments to support New European Bauhaus projects and to leverage public and private resources. Flexible implementation options fitting for new or existing financial instruments offer combined support in one operation in line with the 2021-2027 Common Provisions Regulation. Final recipients may access a one-stop-shop for a grant component as either technical support, or to ensure the financial viability of the project.

    New European Bauhaus territorial development model (NEB TDM) financial instrument

  • Updated Guidance note on State aid in ESIF financial instruments in the 2014-2020 programming period

    Published in 2021

    The updated Guidance note has been discussed in EGESIF in July 2021. Following the adoption of the Omnibus Regulation, the Guidance needed to be updated in order to reflect corresponding changes in substance, in terminology and legal references. In addition, considering the questions raised by various stakeholders following the publication of the Guidance in 2017, a new Annex was added to provide more practical explanations and examples.

    Guidance note on State aid in ESIF financial instruments

  • Gap analysis for small and medium-sized enterprises financing in the European Union

    Published in 2020

    The report confirms the existence of SME financing gaps in every EU country for both debt and equity. It is accompanied by an in-depth analysis on 8 countries with the biggest potential for greater use of FIs for SMEs (PT, NL, FR, CZ, RO, SK, IT and ES).

    Full report

  • Stocktaking study on financial instruments by sector

    Published in 2020

    The study covers five sectors that have the potential for greater use of financial instruments in the future. Apart from the full report, it contains five case studies and separate sectoral fiches to provide targeted information for managing authorities seeking to use financial instruments to support investment in Renewable Energy (RE), Urban Development and Transport (UDT), Environment (including air, water and waste), Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure, and Research, Development and Innovation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (RDI in SMEs).

    The reports identify existing potential investment opportunities, together with an analysis of where new investment opportunities are expected to arise in the future. The report goes on to consider the scope to expand financial instruments in these sectors in the short and medium-term, including in the 2021-2027 programming period.

    Full report

  • The potential for investment in energy efficiency through financial instruments in the European Union

    Published in 2020

    The study helps programme negotiations to deploy financial instruments in improving energy efficiency. It provides a summary for each MS, mainly based on the National Energy and Climate Plans. In addition, it expanded the analysis in ten selected Member States (BG, CZ, ES, FR, HR, HU, IT, PL, PT, RO) with a stronger emphasis on investment needs.

    Full report

  • Paper explaining how the Articles related to FI provide flexibilities to facilitate delivering support through Financial Instruments in tackling the economic impact of the COVID crisispdf
  • Annual Summaries: Data on the progress made in financing and implementing the financial instruments for the programming period 2014-2020 in accordance with Article 46 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council

    • Situation as at 31 December 2020 pdf English
    • Situation as at 31 December 2019 pdf English
    • Situation as at 31 December 2018 pdf English
    • Situation as at 31 December 2017 pdf English
    • Situation as at 31 December 2016 pdf English
    • Situation as at 31 December 2015 pdf English


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