Picture: Aldo Longo, Director, DG Agriculture and Rural Development
The advantages of financial instruments as a means for future investment in the EU agricultural sector were emphasised at a fi-compass macro-regional seminar held in Rome on 13 June. More than 130 participants from 12 Member States, including experts from managing authorities, guarantee fund managers, bankers, investors, and consultants, took part in constructive talks on financial instruments supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), such as loans and guarantees, for agriculture and rural businesses.
Picture: Roberto Moncalvo, Vice President, COPA – COGECA; Luca Lazzaroli, Director General, European Investment Bank; Giuseppe Blasi, Head of Department, Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, Italy
Opening the event, Aldo Longo, Director at the European Commission's DG Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI), told the audience, "European and world demand for quality food is increasing, so is the pressure on our farming sector to deliver. This is a new era of development, which places farmers at the crossroads for investments decisions – they have to improve their assets and performance now, to be able to respond tomorrow. And in order to do this they need to be helped by member states and through financial instruments. Achieving leverage, reducing pressure on public and EU budgets, as well as addressing farmers' needs is crucial to the success of financial instruments supported through EU rural development funds (the EAFRD). Member States with regional rural development programmes may also opt for multi-regional financial instruments operating at national level, thus benefiting from larger volumes and streamlined implementation. DG AGRI considers any programme modification introducing financial instruments as a priority." Mr Longo also announced the publication of the new Methodological handbook for implementing an ex-ante assessment of agriculture financial instruments under the EAFRD.
Dr Giuseppe Blasi, Head of the Department for European and International Policies and Rural Development at the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, explained his country’s approach towards EAFRD financial instruments. Farmers' interests in financial instruments were outlined by representatives from COPA-COGECA and Italian farm unions. The seminar participants also heard examples about rural development financial instruments from different Italian regions, as well as from Lithuania and Hungary. Experts from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Investment Fund and the European Commission provided further input.
Picture: Event participants
Underlining the importance of this event and of the targeted coaching to EAFRD managing authorities offered by fi-compass, EIB Director General Luca Lazzaroli said, "The goal of fi-compass is to offer a starting point and learning opportunities that enable managing authorities and their partners to better understand financial instruments and to guide the ground work. These types of assistance from the EIB Group can help managing authorities make informed decisions about moving forward with financial instruments.”
The seminar in Rome followed similar events in the past 12 months which took place in Dublin, Vienna, Riga and Madrid. The next fi-compass EAFRD events are being planned for autumn 2016, including the EAFRD conference on 25 November 2016 in Brussels.
Visit the fi-compass website for access to all video recordings of the presentations from the Rome seminar, as well as material from other EAFRD past events.