The importance of knowledge about using ex-ante assessments properly was one of the main conclusions from the recent fi-compass event focused on the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Knowhow about this and other systematic approaches involved in setting up an EAFRD financial instrument where noted as being extremely useful for EAFRD managing authorities.
Other key topics discussed by the seminar speakers and delegates included the benefits of financial instruments for farmers and agri-food businesses in terms of access to funding, as well as the benefits to managing authorities such as leverage (performance) opportunities. Good working relationships between managing authorities and financial intermediaries was another piece of valuable advice highlighted during the event, which also emphasised the role that fi-compass can play in supporting the creation of financial instruments under the EAFRD. Targeted coaching for managing authorities about financial instruments and networking of their experts are two other areas raised as part of the future advisory services that can bring benefits on the ground. These are being considered for inclusion in the 2016/17 fi-compass work programme.
All these points emerged from a fruitful day of discussions and knowledge exchanges at the EAFRD fi-compass event, which took place in Vienna and attracted EAFRD managing authorities and stakeholders from 20 EU countries. Participants included a broad mix of institutional representatives and experiences. These ranged from Directors and Heads of managing authorities and paying agencies, experts from Member States, consultants, banking bodies and academics. Such a cross-section of interests underlined the importance of financial instruments for the future development of EU agriculture and rural areas.
Mihail Dumitru, Deputy Director General at the European Commission’s DG Agriculture and Rural Development, underlined this message in his opening remarks to the seminar. He noted the significant potential that financial instruments can play in supporting employment for Europe’s agri-food sector and rural areas in general. Economic and environmental sustainability were emphasised as further vital considerations for EAFRD financial instruments.
Other speakers at the fi-compass EAFRD seminar reiterated these points during an interesting collection of presentations describing good practices and peer advice for the audience. Among these were EAFRD case studies from the Netherlands, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal and the host country Austria. Loan and guarantee funds as well as Fund of Fund models providing support for agriculture and rural development investments were featured by these presentations. Opportunities for EAFRD equity investment fields were also explained to the delegates.
See the event’s programme for a full set of presentations by speakers on these and other topics concerning EAFRD financial instruments.