The United Kingdom has been one of the key proponents of financial instruments (FIs) – loans, guarantees and equity - and spends a larger share of its Structural Funds allocations in the form of FIs than most Member States. FIs have played an increasingly prominent role in EU policies, including Cohesion policy, and the UK has often been at the leading edge of policy practice in this area. As the United Kingdom prepares to leave the structures and policies created under EU Cohesion Policy, it is appropriate to consider what lessons can be retained from the Structural Funds experience with financial instruments, where it could be improved and how it might inform future policy design.
This paper provides a brief overview of the rationales and role of financial instruments and sets the UK experience within a broader EU context. Drawing on the views of the FINE partner it goes on to review policymaker assessments of how EU financial instruments have worked, ...