The Beacon Spring 2020

   
 
 
Dear readers,
The Covid-19 outbreak is having an impact on everybody’s daily life. We send our best wishes to all our stakeholders and their families at this difficult time.
During this period, fi-compass will continue to operate and we are introducing a number of new initiatives to support managing authorities and their partners to respond to the crisis. As you will understand, however, it has been necessary to postpone until later in the year the DG AGRI Flagship Conference which had been due to take place on April 23rd in Brussels.
During this special period of social distancing, we invite you to explore the content in this edition, which includes three in-depth feature articles on final beneficiaries in Italy, France and Slovakia in sectors as diverse as geothermal energy, peer-to-peer car rental and energy efficiency.
In this edition of the Beacon, you will also be able to learn about the recently published audit methodology for auditing financial instruments in the period 2014-2020 as well as the EC’s annual summary of data on the use of ESIF financial instruments as at 2018.
Enjoy reading our Beacon and share it with your colleagues involved in ESIF financial instruments.
The fi-compass team
 
 
 
 
fi-compass supporting the European Commission’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative
 
The COVID-19 pandemic is clearly already having a significant impact on everybody’s daily life. We send our best wishes to all our stakeholders and their families at this difficult time, and particularly in some of the worst hit areas of Europe. On the positive side, we already notice the spirit of solidarity shining through, bringing communities and people together in new ways, and in response to the physical constraints we face. As part of that, we have realised that fi-compass has also become a strong community of practitioners across all EU Member States, helping to also foster professional and personal contacts between individuals.

The need for action to address the economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis is immediate. The EU and Member States, as well as the EIB Group, are introducing a wide range of measures to help support employment during this period. This includes, of course, the European Commission’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII), and the EIB Group’s support package for businesses, including through national promotional banks and other intermediaries.
 
 
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Toolkit
Journal
 
 
 
 
ESF supports the development of Social Finance
 
Social innovation is emerging as a long-term priority across Europe in order to provide new responses to growing societal challenges. The preparatory works and negotiations for the 2021-2027 ESIF programming cycle present a unique opportunity to shape priorities for the next seven years and move from fragmented pilot projects into more structured approaches, using ESIF to promote the emergence of solid social finance ecosystems throughout the EU.
 
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Zotcar: the leading private car rental in La Réunion
 
A peer-to-peer car rental system arrived in La Réunion in 2016 thanks to Michel Thiers, a thirty-year-old entrepreneur who benefitted from a EUR 540 650 equity investment from Essor PME La Réunion, an ERDF financial instrument set up by La Réunion region. Today, three years after being set up, Zotcar employs twelve people and has become the leader in private car rental in La Réunion with over 800 cars registered, more than 10 000 days of rentals already booked and several dozens of requests made every day.
 
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Journal
Journal
 
 
 
 
Accessible geothermal energy thanks to ESIF financing
 
While intermittent renewables like solar and wind, when paired with batteries, are a popular fossil fuel alternative, the energy from the Earth's super-heated core is still largely untapped. Supported by Slovak Investment Holding, the fund of funds managing ESIF financial instruments in Slovakia, GA Drilling with its game changing PLASMABIT® drilling technology could revolutionise the geothermal energy field in the next five years.
 
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ERDF financial instruments help Italian social cooperative cut bills
 
Support from an ERDF financial instrument has helped an Italian social cooperative in Emilia-Romagna cut its heating bills by 25% in a year. Featured in the fi‑compass Showcase 2019, the CIDAS project received EUR 715 000 in the form of a long-term low interest loan. As a result, the social cooperative who provide care services for older people can now spend more of its energy on their people.
 
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Journal
Toolkit
 
 
 
 
ESF financial instruments for students
 
How can more students be encouraged to pursue and successfully finish science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and workers upskill or re-skill through vocational education and training?
More than 70 experts from across Europe gathered in Prague on 11 February 2020 to hear about this topic in a fi‑compass thematic workshop on financial instruments for student loans, organised on behalf of the European Commission – Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in partnership with the EIB.
 
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Upcoming fi‑compass activities and resources for the EAFRD community
 
The fi‑compass ‘Sixth annual EU conference on EAFRD financial instruments for agriculture and rural development in 2014-2020’ has been postponed due to the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. The new date for the conference has been set for 16 November 2020. This year’s conference will be focused on the preparation of the 2021-2027 CAP Strategic Plans. A new fi‑compass study on the financing needs in the agriculture and agri-food sectors in the EU Member States will feature as well as three new case studies of EAFRD financial instruments.
 
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Journal
Milestone
 
 
 
 
Annual data report on the use of ESIF financial instruments as at 2018
 
The European Commission has published its annual report summarising data on the use of ESIF financial instruments for the period ending December 2018. This document demonstrates that considerable progress has been achieved in the set-up and implementation of ESIF financial instruments. By the end of 2018, the total programme contributions committed to financial instruments were nearly EUR 22.1 billion of which EUR 16.9 billion came from ESIF resources. This is an increase of 17% in programme amounts compared to the 2017 data.
 
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EC audit methodology for financial instruments 2014-2020
 
The EC audit methodology for financial instruments 2014-2020 provides European Commission auditors and audit authorities with a framework for their audits pursuant to Article 127 of the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR). The main topics highlighted in the methodology include: key audit areas of financial instruments, work to be carried out by the audit authorities related to the different stages of a financial instrument and the specificities for the audit of financial instruments implemented by the EIB and other international financial institutions.
 
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