Thursday, June 7, 2012
JESSICA Programme: the city of Sofia is revitalized thanks to urban projects
An agreement establishing an Urban Development Fund (UDF) has been concluded between the European Investment Bank (EIB) in order to accelerate investment in Sofia urban areas.
The UDF (Fund for Sustainable Urban Development of Sofia) is being established as a joint stock company by the Fund for Local Authorities and Governments (FLAG) to invest approximately EUR 12.5 million of JESSICA funds, combined with additional co-financing of an at least equal amount provided by FLAG. Investments will be financed over the next three and a half years.
The main objectives of the UDF are to support the implementation of EU cohesion policy within the context of urban regeneration in the city of Sofia, as well as to identify urban needs and provide funding for sustainable urban projects and/or public-private partnerships. The JESSICA investment portfolio in the city of Sofia may include projects for purposes such as the rehabilitation of deprived urban areas, basic infrastructure works, energy networks and energy efficiency in the context of a wider urban development plan.
The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (the Managing Authority) established a JESSICA Holding Fund (HF) within the EIB with the aim of deploying EU Structural Funds for investments focusing on the revitalisation of city areas. The relevant Funding Agreement was signed on 29 July 2010.
The Fund for Local Authorities and Governments was established in 1997 as a state-owned enterprise aimed at facilitating the implementation of local authorities’ investment projects eligible under and funded by EU Structural Funds. Its remit is to support Bulgarian municipalities and municipal companies in the process of preparing and implementing eligible projects for improving municipal infrastructure and creating more sustainable urban communities.
The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) is one of the Cohesion Policy Joint Initiatives that were developed by the European Commission to contribute towards making EU Cohesion Policy more efficient and sustainable. The JESSICA mechanism is based on cooperation between the Commission, the EIB and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and supports investments in sustainable urban development and regeneration.
This initiative, which is designed to increase the use of financial engineering instruments, enables Managing Authorities to use part of their European Structural Funds allocations to invest in revolving funds rather than providing one-off grant financing. By so doing, the Authorities can recycle financial resources 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.
Source : Press room - European Commission
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