The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) comprise the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the European Social Fund (ESF), and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). ESI Funds can be used to support development in a comprehensive way by investing for instance in businesses, research and development, infrastructure, employment and training, agriculture, forestry and fisheries development, with the overall objective to improve the quality of life of EU citizens.
Member States and regions can use financial instruments as an efficient and sustainable way of providing support targeted at the priorities of a programme co-funded by ESIF. Financial instruments are suitable for financially viable projects, i.e. those which are expected to generate enough income or savings to pay back the support received.
For further information, please consult the fi-compass factsheet on ESIF financial instruments.
fi-compass offers general information and advice relevant to all ESIF financial instruments, resulting from the common legislative framework and financial market practices. It covers awareness raising activities, as well as operational and regulatory aspects that are common to financial instruments implemented under the ESI Funds.
Specific ESIF advisory products from fi-compass include information material, manuals, case studies and training for managing authorities or financial intermediaries involved in the delivery of ESIF financial instruments. The dedicated advice for ESI Funds with limited experience in financial instruments (CF, EAFRD, EMFF and ESF) includes a focus on awareness raising and capacity building activities to promote a shift towards the use of financial instruments.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) represents the core of the Investment Plan for Europe. The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group launched the EFSI to help overcome investment gaps in the EU by mobilising private financing for strategic investments.
ESIF financial instruments are able to work side-by-side with EFSI in Member States and their combined resources can help mobilise large volumes of finance. Information and advice about how EFSI can be combined with ESIF financial instruments is available in 23 EU languages here.
Multi-Region Assistance (MRA) offers grants for co-operation projects involving at least two managing authorities from different EU Member States which aim at assessing the possible use of ESIF financial instruments in specific thematic areas of common interest.
MRA Support covers the assessment of the possible use of financial instruments targeting investment priorities that are shared by the regions. The aim is to facilitate a broader use of financial instruments both in terms of ESI Funds invested and their geographical or thematic scope, as well as to encourage regions from different Member States in cooperating, exchanging practices and mutual learning.
More details are available in the call for proposals launched by the Commission published here.