After an impressive surge in activity in 2008, JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions), the technical assistance partnership between the European Commission, the EIB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and KfW, continued to expand its activities on behalf of the twelve beneficiary EU Member States in the first nine months of 2009.
Between January and September 2009 JASPERS completed 72 assignments. Since 2006, the year in which it started operations, JASPERS has completed 179 assignments and as of 30 September 2009, there were 445 active assignments in progress.
The JASPERS portfolio, balanced among the beneficiary Member States broadly in line with their share of EU funding, is divided into five sectors: roads, ports, airports and railways; water and wastewater; solid waste and energy; urban infrastructure and services; and telecoms, culture and R&D infrastructure.
Out of 35 projects in the EU-12 approved by DG REGIO as at September 2009, 30 have been supported by JASPERS.
JASPERS encourages EU-12 beneficiary Member States to submit further grant applications to Brussels as speedily as possible and to prepare such grant applications in line with the requirements of the European Commission. The ultimate aim is to promote the absorption of EU Structural Funds, thereby stimulating future investment.
A key player at EU level
The economic recovery package announced by the European Commission on 26 November 2008 included measures to further support cohesion policy.
A first stakeholders meeting took place in Krakow, Poland, in May 2009. More meetings of this kind will be held in the future as they provide invaluable feedback.
The significant increase in the number and complexity of assignments, and the continued support given by JASPERS to projects after the grant application has been submitted to DG Regio, have a significant impact on JASPERS' resources. This is why new experts and support staff are being recruited for the JASPERS regional offices (Bucharest, Vienna and Warsaw) to start work in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The main objective of the Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS) is to provide Member States which joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007 with technical assistance to make use more effectively of the EUR 347 billion in grant finance made available by the EU for the implementation of EU cohesion policy during the period 2007-2013. The support provided by JASPERS is comprehensive and covers all stages of the project cycle from the initial identification of a project through to the grant application to the Commission. JASPERS operates on the basis of country Action Plans prepared annually for each Member State in cooperation with the beneficiary Member State concerned. A Managing Authority acts as a central coordinator for each country and it can request assistance from JASPERS. During the process of preparing the annual country Action Plans, JASPERS works in close cooperation with the Commission and the Member States to assist the latter in producing mature project proposals that are capable of meeting EU requirements, as well as to identify potential projects for assistance.