Financial Instruments delivering ESI Funds, Vilnius, 17 March 2016
Financial instruments delivering ESI Funds were discussed at a seminar organised by fi-compass in Vilnius, Lithuania on 17 March 2016. This event was part of a series of national seminars that have been taking place in most European Union Member States since autumn 2015.
The event in Vilnius was very well attended, having attracted over 120 delegates, which demonstrated a strong interest in ESIF financial instruments in Lithuania. The delegates included representatives from programme authorities (managing authorities, certifying and audit authorities), other national and regional authorities and organisations, as well as financial intermediaries and consultants.
Sigitas Mitkus, Director of Financial Market Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance in Lithuania, opened the seminar. Mr Mitkus highlighted the importance of ESIF financial instruments in Lithuania. Financial instruments ensure the continuity of European Funds and therewith reduce the administrative burden on the stakeholders. As financial instruments are revolving, they support long-term development. Rūta Dapkutė-Stankevičienė, from the Ministry of Finance in Lithuania, further detailed Lithuania’s broad experience with financial instruments and presented the state of play on financial instruments in Lithuania.
The opening speeches were followed by three examples of development and implementation. Frank Lee, Head of Financial Instruments Advisory Division of the European Investment Bank, presented a case on financial instruments for urban development and public infrastructure. Mr Lee stressed the positive effect that financial instruments have on improving coordination between the public and private sectors. Jacek Błoński, META group, shared his experience with early stage equity funds, which were supported by financial instruments in order to boost innovation and high growth. He stressed the importance of private expertise to complement financial resources for start-ups. To complete this session, Merle Saaliste, from the Ministry of Rural Affairs in Estonia, presented her experience with financial instruments under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
The case study presentations were followed by an update from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy regarding the latest official guidance concerning ESIF financial instruments, among others on management cost and fees, treasury management, and complementarities between ESIF and EFSI. The audience discussed many points from the presentations including the combination of ESI Funds with funds from other International Finance Institutions in common financial instruments. Ando Siitam, from the European Investment Bank, introduced the fi-compass advisory support and showcased the features of the fi-compass website.
The seminar in Vilnius concluded with two parallel workshops, which included hands-on exercises following the life cycle of financial instruments with particular emphasis placed on the design phase. The participants took advantage of the opportunity to discuss their own practical experience with the implementation of financial instruments.
The delegates’ discussions highlighted their advanced level of experience in all stages of financial instruments. The discussions also indicated interest for seminars focusing on more concrete issues within the life cycle of financial instruments.