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Financial Instruments in ESI Funds Programmes: a Look to the Future with a View to the Past journal article

Fiona Wishlade, Rona Michie

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 4 (2016), Issue 4, Page 204 - 213

Financial instruments represent a small share of spend under ESI Funds programmes but they have received increasing attention in recent years. In this context, this article looks at how ESI Funds financial instruments have been used in 2007-2013, and highlights some of the lessons learned from this period. It then discusses the key changes which have been made to the policy framework for 2014-2020, and provides an overview of the emerging state of play for financial instruments in the 2014-2020 ESI Funds programmes. The article then concludes with a brief look at emerging issues.

Financial Instruments for Enterprises in 2007-13: a Practice Run for 2014-20? journal article

Fiona Wishlade, Rona Michie, Giovanni Familiari, Peter Schneidewind, Andreas Resch

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 2, Page 111 - 119

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 by the Commission on the basis that such instruments are more sustainable than grants, that they can generate better quality projects and that they are a more efficient use of public funds. However, for many Member States financial instruments were a new approach to delivering Cohesion policy in 2007-13, and their increased use created significant challenges. In considering this experience, this article draws on the findings of the ex post evaluation of financial instruments for enterprise support under the ERDF and Cohesion Fund. It assesses the scale of support provided through co-financed financial instruments in 2007-13, considers the rationales of managing authorities opting to use financial instruments, outlines how financial instruments were implemented in practice and provides some initial indications of their effectiveness.

Dealing with Unhappy Customers: How Do Member States Handle Complaints under the ESI Funds? journal article

Laura Polverari, Rona Michie

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 4, Page 299 - 308

The 2014-20 European Structural and Investment Funds regulations include provisions which strengthen the legal framework for examining and handling complaints under the ESI Funds. For the first time, the regulations require EU Member States to provide effective arrangements for examining complaints under their ESI Fund programmes (in Article 74(3) of the Common Provisions Regulation). However, provisions on how such complaints should be dealt with remain vague. This article examines some of the elements such complaints handling systems should include, proposes an analytical framework to assess the effectiveness of such systems, and asks whether imposing more stringent requirements on Member State authorities in this area could further exacerbate the already contested administrative cost of implementing Cohesion policy.