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If you look up Leverage on Wikipedia, you get the following answer: Leverage is a factor by which a lever multiplies a force - it is therefore related to mechanical advantage. The useful work done is the energy applied, which is force times distance. Therefore a small force applied over a long distance is the same amount of work as a large force applied over a small distance. The trick is converting the one into the other. In fact it's a simple mechanical process...

In INTERREG projects, the notion of leverage applies to the potential for further financial support.

At this time in the INTERREG IIIB NWE calendar, the potential for leverage of projects is starting to become obvious. Strong outputs generate strong interest, which in turn can sometimes generate investment from other organisations in view of further development.

This catalytic role of the Structural Funds is attributed to the fact that they offer funding stability over a multiannual budgetary period and mobilise critical funding mass. According to estimates by the European Commission, every euro spent at EU level on cohesion policy leads to between EUR 1 and EUR 3 in additional expenditure by national or regional governments.

DG REGIO, inforegio news, May 2007, n157

In the NWE Programme we are always happy when Projects we finance succeed in generating further investment based on the results which we supported them to achieve. We are looking for results which last beyond the lifetime of the project, so leverage is something which we recognise as a sign of durability and transferability of results. Some of our Projects have been successful enough to attract interest beyond the scope of their original plan, some have convinced others to buy into their ideas, bringing with them financial assistance and guarantees for sustainability, and recognition.

For the EU, leverage is an important issue. In fact, a report adopted in March 2007 by the Committee of Regions concludes that EU funding can make a difference in terms of attracting new investment, both public and private for projects which work towards generating growth and jobs, one of the top priorities of the EU under the Lisbon Strategy.

Wikipedia also says The simplest device for creating leverage is the lever (...) and a Project's lever is its outputs : you have to have convincing results to generate further investment . We are sure that all of the Projects we financed will have a lasting impact on NWE, here are two examples of Projects who started thanks to EU funding, but who don't need us anymore thanks to levered investment:


The partners all wanted to address safety and security in ports. Their objective was to develop an integrated technology infrastructure for the control and surveillance of port areas, and they achieved just that, in the form of a system which is now the envy of the whole coastal zone.

The higher standard for security raised the competitiveness of the ports and sets an example for others. The Belgian police is in fact trying to convince other ports to implement the same standards.

In line with the project, a Public Private Partnership was founded. E-port (a public private partnership between a private company and the Port of Oostende AG) was established to promote and sell the system running in Oostende to other ports.

Because both Calais and Oostende approaches were deemed successful, other Channel ports (Vlissingen, Zeebrugge, Duinkerke en Coquelles (Chunnel)) have implemented similar investments (Heart Beat detectors, Passive Millimetre Wave and fencing).

In their activity report the partners state :
We will not apply anymore for the same project in the future programming period. The help we received was very welcome, and gave us the opportunity to set up a very efficient safety and security system. First of all of course the partners were gaining from this set up but we were also able to invest in other ports thanks to the experience of the partners. In the future we will try to set up similar set up in other ports.

EPOS doesn't have a website, so you can read more here

"An important aspect that has been underlined by every partner of the project is the fact that the European financial support gave the project a good image and, last but not least, had a strong leverage effect towards other funding providers." says the Lead Partner representative, Mr Hans Thoolen.

The grant by the European Commission was a great stimulus for the process of planning and decision-making for all the participating cities (Gent, Mechelen, Chester, Limerick, 's-Hertogenbosch and Breda), for the City Councils, but also for local community organisations, entrepreneurs, developers, real estate owners and watermanagement organisations.

The European status was a catalyst in all kind of meetings and negotiations. For some cities the financial contribution from Europe was essential to reach the goals, for every city this trigger for co-financing by public and private parties was of the utmost importance. It certainly helped that the chairman of the European Parliament in 2003, Mr Pat Cox, introduced the WIHCC project with an impressive speech on the meaning of Europe, and the necessity of concrete elaborations.

Between 2003 and 2007 the Project helped to interest all kinds of water management organisations in the chances and possibilities for inner cities. A lot of developers understood the meaning of water as a combination of social and business profit. Real estate owners have shown a considerable interest in reinvesting in inner cities. International meetings stimulated organisations of entrepreneurs and inhabitants to dream about possible results beyond the limits of daily life. Processes of decision making have been accelerated by the demands in the grant (for instance Mechelen). For Limerick and Chester the European funding was decisive for the realisation of the water projects. In Breda (the Lead Partner) the WIHCC project was a catalyst for the creation of a new European program. For most of the cities the European status helped to get more support by higher governmental authorities for their projects.

The main leverage effect is on a local and regional level. The European flag on the project gives faith, trust and endurance to the people concerned. Considering the relatively small amounts for investments, the extra support by national and regional authorities is of the outmost importance to give an extra force to this leverage.

With the film, and the practical handbook on Water projects, we hope to stimulate other cities and parties concerned, to have the courage to accept the challenge of water as a chance for inner city (re)development.

There are of course many other examples to give. If your project achieved impressive leverage, let us know how it happened and we'll add you to this list of examples!

cities&regions transport&it water&flood risks nature&heritage seas&ports