>@EIB/To be defined

The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) - Michel Lebrun – and President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) - Werner Hoyer – have joined forces and launched an action plan to boost the delivery of the €315bn Juncker Plan and EU structural funds. The shared objective is to simplify procedures and speed up the implementation of quality EU projects that benefit both citizens and local businesses. The CoR will support Europe's local and regional authorities by helping mobilise the EIB’s expertise in addressing their needs.

In a joint message the CoR and EIB Presidents stated, "We all know that regions and cities play a crucial role in the 'investment offensive' launched by the European Commission and the EIB with the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). We will act as pro-active partners and cooperate closely to ensure regions and cities make the most efficient use of public spending at the local and regional level. In particular, this applies to managing public tenders, ensuring the coordination with existing growth strategies, providing the knowledge needed to implement innovative actions in fields such as urban development, urban-rural links, and energy efficiency. Furthermore, the objective of doubling the use of financial instruments in 2014-2020 EU cohesion policy can be reached only by increasing the awareness of the opportunities available and supporting those administrations that lack the necessary skills”.

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, commented: “EFSI will strengthen confidence and improve the competitiveness of Europe’s economy. The fund will be set up within the EIB, which has lent the plan its full support from the start. The initiative marks a paradigm shift in the use of limited public resources, away from grants and subsidies, towards loans and guarantees. This will help leverage private capital, multiplying the effect of the initial funding.” And he added: “The EIB has a strong track record of putting money to work in this way. However, for the Juncker Plan to succeed everyone must play their part. Structural reforms remain urgent, and so does the simplification of regulation at both EU and Member State level. I welcome the support of the Committee of the Regions for the initiative and for stressing its different territorial dimensions across Europe.”

In this perspective, CoR President Lebrun underlined that: "The CoR and the EIB are intensifying cooperation and will implement common activities focused on promoting of the opportunities linked to the ESIF, as well as to existing EIB credit facilities among regional and local authorities. The participation of CoR members and EIB experts in Europe-wide roadshows key EU-funded infrastructure projects, will increase awareness among Europe's citizens about the benefits of the EU's commitment to growth."

Furthermore, the CoR is currently developing its own proposals to improve ESIF regulation which will be included in an opinion to be formally be adopted during its Plenary session in April this year.