Underground parking lot to be built in El Puerto de Santa Maria using JESSICA loan and private equity. The project is implemented by a municipal company in a partnership with a private investment company. If you need copyright information for the pictures, I took the pictures, while the visualisations are by Impulsa (municipal investment company, El Puerto de Santa Maria.

Underground parking lot to be built in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Andalusia, using JESSICA loan and private equity. The project is implemented by a municipal company in a partnership with a private investment company. Pictures by M. Dabrowski. Visualisations  by Impulsa, El Puerto de Santa Maria.

Marcin Dąbrowski, who has just started his post-doctoral fellowship within the Spatial Planning and Strategy chair, publishes two short articles on EU cohesion policy. The first one will be out in the upcoming issue of the Regions magazine. In this article Marcin presents his recent research on the Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA), an innovative Financial Engineering Instrument (FEI) providing revolving funding for urban development projects. This new tool created scope for expanding the horizontal dimension of the multi-level governance of EU cohesion policy by stimulating cooperation of the sub-national authorities with financial institutions (e.g. European Investment Bank or domestic banks) and private investors. However, as the evidence from the Polish and Spanish regions suggests, its implementation proves extremely challenging and is hampered by numerous obstacles, coordination and capacity gaps, reluctance towards public-private cooperation as well as resistance among the policy actors on the ground accustomed to grant-based support. This in turn underlines the practical limitations of multi-level governance and of FEI as tools for promoting urban development.

 The second short paper, that will be published in the forthcoming issue of Regional Insights, is a commentary on the contested effectiveness of EU cohesion policy. It examines how administrative deficiencies and careless spending of EU funds to satisfy the desires of the local electorates negatively impact on the delivery and effectiveness of cohesion policy. It stresses that in order to best utilise the EU cohesion policy’s potential to support economic development in economically lagging regions, one needs to recognise and dedicate more efforts to address administrative capacity deficiencies, particularly at the sub-national level. Moreover, he argues that the national and regional need courage and strong leadership to start thinking beyond short-term political gains and prioritising most relevant and sustainable investment.

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