Third annual EU conference on EAFRD financial instruments for agriculture and rural development in 2014-2020, Paris, 10 October 2017
High-level attendance and intense peer exchange on financial instruments implementation at the third annual EU fi-compass conference on European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) financial instruments for agriculture and rural development in 2014-2020
Organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) this flagship fi-compass conference welcomed participants from 25 EU Member States to the ‘Third annual EU conference on EAFRD financial instruments for agriculture and rural development in 2014-2020’ on 10 October 2017 in Paris.
In his opening statement, Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, highlighted the importance of innovation, modernisation and sustainability for European agriculture. He reminded the audience that "We need to provide farmers, agri-food operators and rural entrepreneurs with the full range of financing possibilities existing under the EAFRD, so that they are in a position to compete fairly with all other economic sectors which already benefit from cohesion policy or other EU-level financing."
Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, Director-General for the Economic and Environmental Performance of Enterprises, Ministry for Agriculture, France, emphasised the exemplary role of the Occitanie and Nouvelle Aquitaine regions in pioneering financial instruments for agriculture and rural development. She also underlined that the Ministry is fully supporting the regions in their pioneering role.
Occitanie region’s support for agriculture in the form of financial instruments was also the focus of the speech of Carole Delga, President of the Occitanie region, France. She highlighted the significance of agriculture for the regional economy and the key role played by regions in implementing financial instruments.
Pim van Ballekom, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) reviewed the merits of financial instruments in improving the efficiency of public policies for the agricultural sector by “doing more with less”. He also called for improvements in the use of financial instruments in terms of rationalisation, simplification and better complementarity between centralised and decentralised instruments. He was followed by Pier Luigi Gilibert, European Investment Fund (EIF), who also highlighted the usefulness of financial instruments as a highly effective complement to grants and subsidies and gave an overview of recent EIF involvement in setting up EAFRD financial instruments in France and Italy.
Key note speakers were joined by representatives from the farm unions and the French banking sector who gave insights into investment needs in the agricultural sector in France and other EU Member States. The European Commission, together with the EIB Group, presented financing opportunities offered by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and options for blending EFSI with EAFRD resources. The role of Omnibus in offering further possibilities of combining EFSI with EAFRD resources was highlighted.
Furthermore, the conference featured recent developments in the use of EAFRD financial instruments in France and other Member States. Managing authorities also reported on their positive experience with targeted coaching on financial instruments for EAFRD managing authorities.
This fi-compass conference followed previous macro-regional and annual fi-compass EAFRD events that took place in Dublin, Vienna, Riga, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Brussels and Tallin. The next EAFRD Conference will be in Sofia.
The conference in Paris was graphically recorded and drawings from the event are included in the photo gallery. We encourage you to look at the video recordings and presentations from the speakers. A selection of additional fi-compass resources can be also found below.
The press release of the European Commission about the conference can be found here.