Urban renewal and infrastructure development are the focus of two JESSICA holding funds being established in Poland’s Silesia and Pomerania regions. The funds will make use of European regional and development funds.
An agreement signed today with the Silesia region establishes a JESSICA holding fund for investment in economically deprived urban areas across the region. The fund, managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), will redevelop disused military bases and industrial areas, as well as regenerating town centres and residential districts. EUR 60m will initially be invested by the Silesia region, of which EUR 51m is from European regional and development funds (ERDF) and EUR 9m from national matching funds.

Marta Gajecka, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Poland said: "The European Investment Bank looks forward to supporting significant regeneration across Poland’s towns and cities. This will support economic recovery, revitalise local communities for the benefit of their inhabitants and attract additional much needed investment to Silesia and Pomerania."

Under an agreement to be signed on July 12, the Pomerania region will also establish an EIB-managed JESSICA holding fund. The fund will finance urban development in Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia and other towns. The fund will benefit public transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy and other projects. The initial amount invested is EUR 56.8m, including EUR 49.2m from European regional and development funds and EUR 7.6m from Poland.

The funds will be the third and fourth JESSICA holding funds established in Poland, and the 13th and 14th in the EU. In 2009, the Wielkopolska region was the first region in the European Union to establish such a fund. There is also a JESSICA holding fund operating in West Pomerania. 

Background notes:

The mission of the EIB, the European Union’s bank, is to contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States by financing sound investments.

JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) is one of the Cohesion Policy Joint Initiatives that were developed by the European Commission to contribute to making EU Cohesion Policy more efficient and sustainable. The JESSICA mechanism is based on cooperation between the Commission, the EIB and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and supports investments in sustainable urban development and regeneration.

This initiative, designed to increase the use of financial engineering instruments, allows Managing Authorities to use some of their European Structural Funds allocations to invest in revolving funds rather than providing one-off grant financing. By so doing, the Authorities can recycle financial resources in order to enhance and accelerate investment in urban areas. These investments, which may take the form of equity, loans and/or guarantees, are delivered to projects via Urban Development Funds and, if required, Holding Funds.