Today, the European Investment Bank (EIB i), in its capacity as manager of the JESSICA i Holding Fund Pomorskie, entered into two agreements establishing Urban Development Funds (UDFs) with Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) and Bank Ochrony Srodowiska (BOS), which will manage the UDFs.
Pomorskie (Pomerania) is the third Polish Region, after Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) and Zachodniopomorskie (West Pomerania), where JESSICA UDFs have already been created. The UDF managed by BGK will invest approximately PLN 153 million into urban projects located in the Region’s powiat (district) cities (namely Gdansk, Gdynia, Slupsk and Sopot), whereas the UDF managed by BOS will invest approximately PLN 65 million into urban projects located in the Region’s smaller cities.
The JESSICA investment portfolio in Pomorskie may include projects with the following objectives: revitalisation of urban areas, regeneration of large elements of dilapidated or de-capitalised urban infrastructure (with particular emphasis on buildings with significant historic or architectural value), enhancement of business environment institutions, revitalisation of post-military and post-industrial areas, development and integration of effective and sustainable public transport, development of energy infrastructure including investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes (e.g. construction, extension or reconstruction of facilities for the production and distribution of renewable energy), as well as the improvement of the cities’ competitiveness through the stimulation of their economic potential.
The Pomorskie Managing Authority is the fourth regional authority in Poland, in addition to the Wielkopolska, Zachodniopomorskie and Slaskie (Silesia) Managing Authorities, to establish a JESSICA Holding Fund (HF) within the EIB with the aim of deploying EU Structural Funds for city investments in a more efficient manner. The corresponding Funding Agreement was signed on 12 July 2010, its main objective being to improve the competitiveness of cities through the development of urban and metropolitan functions.
BGK is a public bank whose primary business objective is to provide banking services to the public finance sector, in particular by supporting the Government's economic programmes, as well as local government and regional development programmes financed from public funds, including those of the European Union. Since September 2010, BGK has been acting as the manager of the approximately PLN 294 million UDF in the Wielkopolska Region.
BOS is a bank founded by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and other environmental organisations. Its main activities comprise corporate and retail banking and the provision of services to local and central governments. BOS’s mission is to promote sustainable regional growth by providing long-term complementary financing, based on sound banking principles, to projects that are expected to provide solutions to vital economic or social problems, to strengthen competitiveness and to enhance the protection of the environment. Since December 2010, BOS has been acting as the manager of one of the two UDFs in the Zachodniopomorskie Region with a budget of approximately PLN 65 million.
The mission of the EIB, the European Union’s bank, is to contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States by financing sound investments.
JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) is one of the Cohesion Policy Joint Initiatives developed by the European Commission to contribute to 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, designed to increase the use of financial engineering instruments, allows 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. The first JESSICA fund in Poland was initiated in the Wielkopolska Region. Subsequently, Holding Funds were established in the Zachodniopomorskie, Slaskie and Pomorskie Regions.