Financial Instruments in 2014-20: learning from 2007-13 and adapting to the new environment

Cite as: Wishlade, F., & Michie, R. (2015) Financial Instruments in 2014-20: learning from 2007-13 and adapting to the new environment. Paper to 2nd Regional Studies Association and European Commission joint policy conference, Riga, Latvia, February 2015

The 2007-13 planning period saw a new and significant emphasis on the use of so-called ‘financial instruments’ as measures to implement Cohesion policy. This was justified on the basis that such instruments are sustainable (because funds are recycled to be spent again in the same region), that they generate better quality projects (because funds have to be repaid and commercial expertise can enhance project selection) and that they are a more efficient use of public funds (because private sector monies are leveraged in to supplement public spending). In 2014-20, the emphasis on financial instruments is reinforced: they can be used for any thematic objective and there are incentives for programmes to dedicate an entire priority axis to financial instruments. At the same time, there are important changes to the regulatory framework affecting how financial instruments can be implemented in practice. Against the backgroundof these changes, it is important to ask how much is known about the experience with financial instruments in 2007-13. What lessons have been learned? How far have these been incorporated into the new context? What are the key changes implied by the new rules and to what extent do these constrain or enable the effective use of financial instruments in the new period?

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