EAFRD financial instruments: adequate products for financing rural infrastructures
The fi-compass event ‘EAFRD financial instruments: adequate products for financing rural infrastructures’ was organised by the European Commission – Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on 13 February in Brussels.
Michael Pielke, DG AGRI, European Commission, opened the event by highlighting the importance to further raise awareness and facilitate exchange of experiences and ideas on the potential for financial instruments in supporting agricultural and rural infrastructures under the EAFRD.
Andreas Kappeler, EIB, presented a detailed context analysis of the infrastructure investment in the EU based on the EIB 2017 Municipal survey and thus outlined wide array of challenges and opportunities for investing in infrastructure at local and regional level, emphasising that sound project selection, preparation and implementation are key to ensure a proper use of funds. Additionally, as presented by Frank Lee, EIB, the ongoing fi-compass study on “Financing rural, agricultural and forestry infrastructure” provided the first impression on the investment needs for rural infrastructure and analysed how financial instruments could be used to unlock infrastructure investment in this area.
Following that, Galin Gentchev, DG AGRI, European Commission, presented findings of a workshop on project types and investments needs in the bio-economy and forestry, which is in one of the nine specific objectives in the European Commission’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 proposals to promote employment, growth, social inclusion and local development in rural areas.
The event continued with project promoters and managing authorities sharing their perspective on supporting infrastructure investment:
- the Provincia di Trento Global Loan (Italy) case study, presented by Santiago Larregola, EIB, and Roberto Nicastro, Cassa del Trentino, focused on the fruitful cooperation between the EIB and this specialised local financial intermediary fully owned by the Province of Trento, which allowed to channel finance to small-scale infrastructure projects;
- the representative of the European Regional Development Fund Managing Authority, Magdalena Pronobis, highlighted the vast benefits and the successful implementation of the JESSICA initiative in Pomerania Region in Poland.
During the afternoon session, event participants had an opportunity to learn investors’ perspective on supporting infrastructure investment:
- Felipe Ortega-Schlingmann, EIB, presented key principles of EIB’s financing of rural and agricultural infrastructures.
- Nicolas Tritaris, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), provided an overview of the EBRD financing with a specific focus on the EBRD role in the set-up and implementation of a financial instrument addressing financing needs related to upgrade and rehabilitation of water and wastewater infrastructure in Bulgaria.
The active participation of event attendees was stimulated during the group workshop sessions, discussions and Q&A sessions. The event also served as an efficient discussion platform on how to match the EAFRD managing authorities’ needs in terms of infrastructure with the financial intermediaries potentially interested in investing in agricultural and rural infrastructure.
Workshop conclusions, delivered by Michael Pielke, DG AGRI, European Commission, acknowledged a general positive consensus that EAFRD financial instruments could help unlocking investments in rural infrastructure, given that more capacity building assistance is provided to project promoters and all the key stakeholders (public bodies, public and private financial institutions, and rural communities, etc.).
|Challenges for investing in infrastructure at local and regional level||
Andreas Kappeler, European Investment Bank
|fi-compass study “Financing rural, agricultural and forestry infrastructure”||
Frank Lee, European Investment Bank
|Typology of projects and investment needs in the bio-economy||
Galin Gentchev, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission
|Provincia di Trento Global Loan (Italy)||
Santiago Larregola, European Investment Bank
Roberto Nicastro, Cassa del Trentino, Italy
|JESSICA initiative in Poland||
Magdalena Pronobis, ERDF Managing Authority, Pomerania Region, Poland
|EIB financing of rural and agricultural infrastructures||
Felipe Ortega-Schlingmann, European Investment Bank
|EBRD financing and Financial Instruments for water infrastructure in Bulgaria||
Nicolas Tritaris, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development