The European Investment Bank recently approved EUR 12.7 billion of loans to support new investment in energy, transport, education infrastructure, corporate research and food security and disaster recovery in projects across Europe, Africa and Asia. It also approved funding strengthening the ability by local banks to support small businesses.Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank Group, opened the December board meeting by briefing directors on the EIB’s engagement at COP 21.
President Hoyer said: “The European Investment Bank warmly welcomes the agreement at COP 21 in Paris and stands ready to support it along with the other multilateral development banks. The new framework for investment is essential to contain climate change and address its impact in the most vulnerable countries. Now our task is to do more of what we do best: use targeted investment to mobilise private capital, without which it will be impossible to find the necessary resources for our ambitious goals.”
Speaking about the Investment Plan for Europe, President Hoyer said: “I wish to thank the Council, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and all those who have enabled the Investment Plan for Europe to start unlocking new investment. In the course of the year, even before structures supporting the European Fund for Strategic Investments were in place, the EIB Group has approved over 100 operations under the plan, including transactions by the EIF backing investment by SMEs and midcaps. Even in 2015, covering the first months of the Investment Plan, the EU Bank has started getting Europe on its way toward stronger investment and enhanced global competitiveness.”
Overall, representatives of the EIB’s shareholders, the 28 EU member states and the European Commission, approved a total of 61 new loans, including 7 projects, in strategic infrastructure, such as transport, water, energy, innovation and agribusiness, earmarked for financing by the EIB under the EU budget guarantee as part of the Investment Plan for Europe.The EIB Board approved financing totalling EUR 777.5 million for the seven EFSI projects, which include green ferries and improving rail access to ports in Spain, providing smart meters and supporting polymer research in Italy, and improving agribusiness production in Poland.
Projects approved by the EIB’s Board of Directors include the development of innovative hearing aids in Denmark, a windfarm in southern Mongolia and an Icelandic geothermal power plant, and large scale investment in energy networks in southern England, Poland, Finland, Italy and Nicaragua.The EIB board agreed to support significant new investment in schools and universities in Finland, France, Germany, Hungary and the UK, as well as backing student mobility loans under the Erasmus scheme in Spain. Following approval today the EIB is also expected to support enzyme research in Belgium, organic chemistry in Italy, development of next generation commercial vehicles in Germany and innovation to improve production of seamless steel tubes at plants across Europe.
Reflecting the crucial role of the European maritime sector the EIB also approved support for investment to improve access and capacity at Spanish ports and to reduce sulphur emissions of ships registered in Finland and the Balearics. New sustainable urban and intercity rail transport in Rotterdam, Cairo, Istanbul and Berlin, as well as Lithuania and Poland was also backed by the EIB board.The meeting agreed EUR 3.6 billion of new lending for SMEs and Midcaps through local banks in Denmark, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Romania and the Netherlands, as well as support for online peer-to-peer lending in the UK.
The Board approved schemes to improve the competiveness of agribusiness and food production in Poland, Georgia and Senegal, and investment to improve urban regeneration and local energy, transport and health infrastructure in Thessaloniki, Lund in Sweden, Vantaa in Finland, Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany and across Italy.Following damage caused by tropical storm Chedza earlier this year, the EIB approved support to strengthen flood resilience and reconstruction of transport infrastructure in Madagascar.All ojects, including those earmarked for support under the EU budget guarantee, need to receive approval of the EIB Board prior to loan contracts being finalised. Loans and guarantees approved by the Board of Directors will be finalised in cooperation with promoters and beneficiaries, and figures may vary.