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21 October 2015 / EN

EPP 2015 Statutory Congress – Making EU investments work in regions and cities

Declaration adopted at the Madrid External Meeting of the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions on 21 October 2015

Local and Regional Authorities (LRA), being responsible for more than 70% of public investment, are crucial players in supporting and managing investment projects, helping public and private money reach the real economy and thereby creating optimal investment conditions, without generating additional debt. EU investment should contribute to economic, social and territorial cohesion in Europe where all levels of government play their part in improving economic governance, transparency and the efficiency of public spending in order to deliver tangible results on the ground in terms of growth and jobs.

Regions and cities improving investment in the EU

    1. We contribute to improving regulatory predictability and framework conditions as well as removing barriers to finding local intermediaries, such as banks, venture capital funds, innovation funds, research funds to attract private capital and investment, especially for SMEs which create two out of three stable local jobs in the private sector and provide the best employment and work quality. We undertake structural reforms, and promote fiscal responsibility managing debt and spending in a smart way.
    2. We support reducing investment gaps and making sure that all regions, including those lagging behind in terms of economic development, and geographically disadvantaged ones, become proactive subjects to increase cohesion across the EU.
    3. We are keen to engage in a better coordination of the budgets at all levels of governance, European, national, regional and local, to maximise the efficiency of investment and achieve concrete results on the ground. We call for coordination and coherence between instruments at EU level and other sources of financial support from the European Investment Bank (EIB), national promotional banks, regional development banks , and ask that multi-level consultations involve LRA.
    4. We commit to improving administrative capacity and governance skills related to the strategic planning that would link the characteristics and competitive assets of each region and city with the other relevant stakeholders to design a tailor made investment strategy.
    5. We are driven by performance and call for more exchange of good practices, peer reviews, mutual learning and awareness raising programmes, courses and training for regional and local public administrators in charge of planning, implementing and clearance of financial instruments.
       
      Financial solutions tailored to the needs and potential of local economies
    6. We want tailor-made financial solutions primarily for infrastructure in broadband and energy networks, renewable energy and micro-enterprises, urban development, transport, education, research and innovation.
    7. We want an investment strategy with financial tools based on the EPP principle of social-market economy that focus on achieving long-term positive effects for the EU economy rather than on the clearance of the support granted.
    8. We need a liquid, stable and diversified Capital Markets Union to support businesses and entrepreneurs that innovate, grow and create employment in our regions and cities.
    9. We want the financial instruments in the form of loans, equity and guarantees to be transparent, accountable and accessible on more advantageous terms than standard commercial loans, given their increased use in the context of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). In that context, we also support granting the EU guarantee to projects financed by the EIB.
    10. We want small-scale projects and clusters of projects at sub-national level to be given adequate financial support as they contribute to creating growth and jobs in local communities, and are against territorial concentration.
    11. We want to simplify procedures and speed up the implementation of quality EU projects and ask for priority to be given to SMEs and small and mid-cap companies. These companies being the backbone of the EU economy, we plead for more flexibility options to be made available to them for financing working capital.
    12. We call on the European Commission to include LRAs in the next Annual Growth Survey as real partners in the design and implementation of the National Reform Programmes, whose implementation should be underwritten by multi-level governance agreements.
    13. We stress that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) complements other budget instruments and has to be exploited to support areas which are currently underfunded. We want local and regional authorities to be involved in the EFSI, especially in the project pipeline and the European Investment Advisory Hub to provide our expertise and know-how in selecting, supporting and managing projects.
    14. We want strong synergies between EFSI and the ESIF via co-financing of projects using financial instruments or grants to avoid any overlapping, and more flexibility combining funding and financing. We call for the Growth and Stability Pact exemption to be extended to all projects of the ESIF.
    15. We call for a collegiate cooperation between the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the local and regional authorities making EU investments work in regions and cities for the prosperity and wellbeing of EU citizens now and in the future.