It is important that we take an overarching view as to how we are helping poorer regions, cities and rural areas develop and invest in jobs and growth. In this context the EFSI is an important tool to boost investments and growth in the EU, as are financial instruments. But the focus on loans distracts somewhat from the work of cohesion policy which is hugely important. I would not like to see the EFSI trying to replace cohesion funding but instead it should be complementary to the policy. There are a number of reasons for this including the fact that structural and cohesion funding is grant-aiding projects and many are smaller-scale projects which would probably not happen if the only source of funding was loans from the EIB. Local Authorities need to have the capacity to apply for and implement local projects which will create real jobs in their areas and this is often only possible with funding from structural and cohesion funds.
I also believe that there should be a geographical quota for funding both from the cohesion policy funds as well as from the EIB. It needs to move away from a focus on larger projects and allow for smaller more locally based projects. We need to defend structural and cohesion projects which will continue to assist in the development of poorer cities and regions. We also need to focus on a project-specific approach which in my city of Gdynia includes developing the port as well as other maritime industries in harmony with the City. Just before the end of 2013, Gdynia port signed three agreements with the Centre for EU Transport Projects to get over EUR 50 mln. The same applies to rural areas in providing services which allow people to continue living in those areas. If we ensure that both the cohesion and investment policies complement each other, then I believe that Europe has an opportunity to deliver real employment, real growth and real sustainable development across Europe.