Luxembourg, 7 June 2006 - The EIB's Board of Governors, which comprises the Finance Ministers of the EU Member States, today held its annual meeting in Luxembourg.
President Maystadt reported on the implementation of the new strategic orientations for the EIB Group approved by the Board last year.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW STRATEGIC ORIENTATIONS
President Maystadt emphasised that: the EIB has taken significant steps forward in the delivery of the new strategic orientations, particularly by developing joint initiatives with the Commission, and it will continue to do so in the coming years.
In the European Union
The new strategic orientations for the EIB's activities in the EU are based on the principles of innovation, quality and continuity/evolution. Innovation is being sought through new forms of collaboration with the banking sector, new financial instruments, new ways of serving SMEs as well as through joint financing with the European Commission. Quality means further increasing the EIB's value added by focusing on projects that contribute specifically to EU policy objectives. Innovation and greater value added are leading to a gradual increase in risk. The Bank is taking on risks not easily absorbed by the market, within strict limits and with appropriate controls. In other words, the evolution towards a higher risk profile will continue.
In the coming years, lending will continue to grow in the new Member States, although volumes in the EU-15 will remain stable. This capping of operations in the EU-15 will allow the Bank to concentrate on projects that deliver higher value added but are also more resource-intensive and involve higher risks.
For covering such higher risks, the Board of Governors has approved an increase of the provision for the Bank's Structured Finance Facility (SFF) from the current EUR 750 m (approved in 2001) to EUR 1 250 m, to be financed from the Bank's surplus. The Board also decided on an overall ceiling for future SFF capital allocations of EUR 3 750 m.
The SFF allows the Bank to finance projects with a higher degree of risk, especially in two areas:
- research and innovation projects, with SFF funds being allocated to the Risk Sharing Finance Facility, the joint finance instrument developed by the EIB and the Commission and funded at least 50% by the EU budget;
- Trans-European Networks, with SFF funds being allocated to the Guarantee for TENs Transport, the joint finance instrument developed with the Commission and funded at least 50% by the EU budget.
The SFF is thus leveraging EU budget resources through EIB loans. It focuses on quality projects and objectives shared by the EIB and the Commission and endorsed by the European Council.
Outside the European Union
Important decisions that provide the framework for the EIB's action over the medium term will be taken later this year: the renewal of the Bank's external mandates for the period 2007-2013; the review of the institutional form of the EIB's action in the Mediterranean; the decisions on the EU's budgetary resources necessary for technical assistance and risk capital operations.
The Bank has intensified its dialogue with the Commission and other IFIs to ensure that the various EU funds and instruments are deployed with the highest degree of efficiency. Examples of this approach:
- The proposal for an increased mandate for Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern countries builds on the respective strengths and expertise of the EBRD, the EIB, and the Commission.
- The EIB and the Commission have jointly analysed the key issues for the success of the Bank's operations in the Mediterranean.
- Partnerships for infrastructure financing in Africa are being established, with the goal of leveraging budgetary funds through EIB financings.
Concerning corporate governance, President Maystadt stressed: principles of transparency and accountability have been further consolidated, in accordance with best international practice.
- The Bank has redrafted its disclosure policy in consultation with civil society. This policy is based on a presumption of disclosure, limited only in specific cases by rules of confidentiality that are essential to business life.
- A Code of Conduct for Members of the Management Committee has been established along the lines of the provisions applicable to European Commissioners
EIB ACTIVITIES IN 2005 IN SHORT
President Philippe Maystadt also summarised the Bank's activity in 2005:
- The EIB lent a total of EUR 47.4 billion, up 10% from 2004 (EUR 43.2 billion).
- To fund its lending, the EIB raised an aggregate amount of EUR 50 billion on the international capital markets.
- The profit and loss statements closed with a net surplus of EUR 1.39 billion, about the same as in 2004.
Economic and social cohesion within the European Union remained the EIB's core lending objective. Loans worth EUR 34 billion (80% of total lending within the EU-25) were devoted to projects located in convergence regions. Lending in the new Member States increased by more than 50% to almost EUR 6 billion and contributed about half of the overall growth in the Bank's lending.
Lending under the Innovation 2010 Initiative in support of the EU's Lisbon Strategy increased by more than 50%, to almost EUR 11 billion, accounting for the remainder of the overall growth. Since the Initiative's launch in May 2000, the EIB has already signed loans worth EUR 35 billion, out of a total objective of EUR 50 billion to be realised by 2010.
Lending volumes in support of Trans-European Networks for transport and energy were steady at EUR 8.2 billion.
Individual loans for investment projects supporting the protection and improvement of the natural and urban environment amounted to EUR 11 billion, or a third of the Bank's total individual loans.
EUR 4 billion of dedicated global loans supported SMEs, the operational priority added last year.
EIB backing for EU development aid and cooperation policies towards partner countries outside the European Union accounted for 11% of total signatures, or EUR 5 billion, in 2005. Almost half of this activity was conducted under the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) and over one quarter was directed to South-East Europe and in particular the Balkans, where the EIB pressed ahead with its financing for the rebuilding of basic infrastructure and its support for local authorities. Activity in the ACP countries under the Cotonou Investment Facility continued to progress in terms of lending volumes and new financial instruments.