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The Beacon Winter 2018  
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FI Campus 2018 ‘What next for ESIF financial instruments? Creating new opportunities under the Omnibus Regulation

The second annual FI Campus conference was successfully held in Brussels earlier this month (December 3-5). Over 360 practitioners from 24 Member States attended the event, which was opened by Eric von Breska, the Director of the Policy Directorate at the European Commission (DG REGIO) and Simon Barnes, Head of Advisory Services at the European Investment Bank.

FI Campus 2018 brought together practitioners to share their ‘on the ground’ experience and included showcasing several examples where financial instruments and investment platforms have combined European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) resources with the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The event also featured a range of different types of sessions and provided an opportunity to launch a number of new fi-compass initiatives, including financial instrument research, case studies, survey results and the website’s new Country pages section providing information about financial instruments in your country.

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New publications about ESIF financial instruments available

The latest Summary of the data on the progress made in financing and implementing the financial instruments for the programming period 2014-2020 confirms that the use of financial instruments in Cohesion Policy reaches record high. The Summary was published by the European Commission on 13 December 2018.

Two new case studies featuring financial instruments using the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in Cyprus and Greece have been published recently. These latest fi-compass case studies present examples from the previous programming period.

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Advances with European Social Fund financial instruments

Three new fi-compass publications covering European Social Fund (ESF) topics are now available in our website’s library.

These cover useful information and advice about: the implications of State aid rules for ESF financial instruments; a pioneering Social Impact Bonds Programme and Social Innovation Initiative in Portugal; and guidance for ESF managing authorities that are interested in setting up a microcredit financial instrument.

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Equity investments for the European Structural and Investment Funds

Using European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to stimulate business start-ups and growth was the focus of the fi-compass event 'Financial intermediaries and equity financial instruments - Working with managing authorities on ESIF equity instruments' in Berlin on 15 and 16 October 2018.

Several case studies of equity financial instruments co-financed with ERDF were presented.
To showcase Interesting  examples in different Member States to support SMEs, research, development and innovation as well as low carbon and circular economy.

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Flexible financial products for the agricultural sector in the EU

A recently completed fi-compass study about financial instruments for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development provides new insight about the potential of flexible financial products for the agricultural sector in the EU.
The study explored options for addressing economic challenges that are faced by EU farmers during times of price volatility.

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Points of view

Multi-region assistance results

The European Commission's Multi-region assistance (MRA) programme was introduced to help Member States' managing authorities to assess the possible use of financial instruments in specific thematic areas of common interest.

Grants were provided for co-operation projects involving at least two managing authorities and this fi-compass article provides some insights from the people involved in using MRA for urban development.

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Valerian Seither

Business benefits from financial instruments

New fi-compass videos help to share knowledge and experience from the people using financial instruments supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Our website’s video library playlists are being continuously updated with new films showcasing such testimonials.

The newest available videos include short interviews about the use of ESIF equity financial instruments from Germany, Greece, France and Latvia.

Furthermore, new videos in the fi-compass pipeline are being finalised that will present ERDF case study success stories from France, Italy, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. These case study films feature interviews with final recipients who benefit from ERDF loans, guarantees and equity investments.

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State aid survey findings

The results of the fi-compass State aid survey have been published on the fi-compass website.

The survey aimed to gather the experience of fi-compass stakeholders of implementing financial instruments under the European Structural and Investment Funds within the State aid rules. The survey, which was conducted in May and June 2018, received over 300 responses and provides a good insight into current practice amongst fi-compass practitioners in this subject area.

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Festive footnote

The fi-compass team wishes all of our subscribers to the Beacon newsletter a very happy festive season and a successful 2019.

We will continue to expand on our achievements next year. To date, these have included organising more than 111 events all around Europe that have attracted the interest of 9508 registrations. 

We will also continue to update our website throughout 2019 ensuring that, with 776 837 page views and 103 560 content downloads, remains the EU’s main source of information about ESIF financial instruments. 

Best festive wishes from fi-compass

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