Wielkopolskie is the first polish EU region to sign up to JESSICA the sustainable funding for urban development projects.

A conference in Poznan will present the opportunities created by EU membership

During the conference, which is organised by the Wielkopolskie region entitled “Five Years with Europe”, she will attend the signing ceremony of the agreement between the region and the European Investment Bank to implement JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas), which allows cities to benefit from innovative investments combining EU grants and loans.
JESSICA: an alternative source of funding for urban development

Together with Hanna Jahns, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Regional Development, and Marek Woźniak, the Marshal of the Voivodeship, Commissioner Hübner will attend the signing ceremony establishing the “JESSICA Holding Fund” between Wielkopolskie and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

JESSICA is a joint initiative of the Commission, the EIB and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEDB) launched in 2006. This initiative enables Member States and regions to invest some of their Structural Fund allocations in revolving funds - rather than one-off grant financing. This means that financial resources can be recycled 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.

Fifteen Member States have so far demonstrated interest in the JESSICA initiative (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom), and detailed evaluations, jointly funded by the EIB and the Commission, are being carried out to help them to assess how the initiative could be implemented.

Five years with Europe

In her key note speech in Poznan, in front of an audience including Members of the European Parliament, local politicians, mayors and academics, Commissioner Hübner will underline that enlargement has emerged as a great political and economic success for the EU and its citizens and created a win-win situation for all 27 Member States.

The economic benefits speak for themselves: new Member States have expanded at a pace of 5.5% of GDP over the past five years, compared to 3.5% in the previous five years. As a result of enlargement, the single market has granted 500 million consumers, and is today the world’s largest trading bloc.

The programme for Wielkopolskie in 2007-2013

In the margins of the conference, Commissioner Hübner will hold talks with the Marshal and other representatives of the region. Their discussions will focus on how to get the most from the Structural and Cohesion funds. Wielkopolskie will benefit from an investment of €1.27 billion from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with a programme focused on developing business competitiveness, revitalising urban areas developing transport infrastructure, protecting the environment and boosting innovation and information technology (MEMO/08/116).

As part of the measures taken under the European Economic Recovery Plan, the region has just received additional advances for 2009 amounting to €25.4 million from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and € 12.1 million from European Social Fund (ESF), on the top of the €131 million it has benefited from since 2007. These front-loaded payments will accelerate the implementation of EU-funded projects on the ground.

Note for editors

Poland is the biggest beneficiary of EU investment under the European Cohesion Policy in 2007-2013. It will receive a total of €67.3 billion.

In 2007-2013, Wielkopolskie will receive:

* €1.27 billion from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
* €605 million from the European Social Fund (ESF).

It will also benefit from an annual payment from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). In 2008, this allocation amounted to €245 million.

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