The European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) announce joint plans to mobilise regions and cities as aggregators of strategic projects, supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investment's (EFSI) local investment platforms.
During the 7th European Summit of Regions and Cities on 8 July in Bratislava, CoR President Markku Markkula and European Commission's Vice President Jyrki Katainen stressed the role of cities and regions as engines for creating sustainable growth and delivering on the investment plan for Europe. Both speakers encouraged the local level to fully reap the potential of the EFSI through launching local and regional investment platforms, while also agreeing on plans to provide their full support and guidance in the process.
"Growth and investment gaps in EU's regions are still widening eight years after the financial crisis, severely hindering long-term growth. We must engage all levels of actors and mobilise private and public resources to reverse this trend and achieve tangible results on the ground" argued President Markkula and stressed how the Committee, together with the Commission and the EIB , "will accompany pioneering regions and cities in establishing investment platforms to attract private investment on strategic projects, thanks to the EFSI guarantee and a pro-active involvement of regional and local authorities".
Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said: "I want to encourage regional and local authorities to take full advantage of the investment opportunities provided by the EU. I also want to stress that the combination of Structural Funds with the European Fund for Strategic Investments is possible, both at project and at investment platform level. We rely on the help of our local and regional partners to spread the message about the opportunities that exist under the Investment Plan. "
President Markkula and Vice-President Katainen agreed that the thematic partnerships started in the framework of the Urban Agenda for the EU provide a concrete opportunity for cities to promote new investment platforms to aggregate projects either on a sectorial basis (i.e. energy efficiency, urban mobility, etc.) or by pooling strategic projects impacting on a specific urban area.
The strengthening of local and regional authorities' cooperation with EU investment partners was a key issue of the Summit, organised by the CoR in partnership with the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council and the City and Region of Bratislava, gathered hundreds of local and regional leaders from all across Europe to assess the effectiveness of EU, national and local investment tools and priorities as well as to identify bottlenecks and share good practices.