In a high level conference of the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank participants discussed today's financial situation and how to maximise the impact of regional and local public expenditure as well as the EU budget 2014-2020 and future perspectives for long term investments in Europe's regions and cities. The event was supported by the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

In Europe, 65 percent of public capital investment originates from local and regional authorities. The crisis of the last five years has strongly affected the investment capacity of Europe's cities and regions. Fiscal consolidation impacts all levels of governance, whilst there is a need to step up the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable, smart and inclusive growth on the ground. Developing greater synergies and an innovative approach of public finance is of paramount importance.

The conference provided a platform for regional and local authorities to present their views on trends in subnational public finances; in different workshops topics such as "The impact of the crisis on the autonomy of Europe's regions and local authorities" and "Securing financing and public private partnership for quality investments on the ground" had been discussed. Leader of Birmingham City Council, and member of the Committee of the Regions, Sir Albert Bore (UK/PES) chaired a workshop discussing "Regional and local authorities as partners for creating sustainable budgetary policies".

Experts looked into recent developments and good practice of public-private partnerships, synergies between budgets at all levels of governance, and financial engineering at regional and local level.

In a now published paper the Committee of the Regions outlined how to „Maximising the impact of local and regional public expenditure“. Download „Investing in Europe's regions and cities“ and learn more about subnational public finances in the EU, regional and local investment capacity and the Europe 2020 strategy. You will also find information about financial instruments and EU cohesion policy 2014-2020 as well as inspiring cases such as the the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative or the Urban Development Funds in Wielkopolka and Pomorskie.

Picture: Plenary session of the Committee of the Regions, Brussels. Copyright - President of the European Council via Flickr