The European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Commission will today sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at furthering coordination of European Union external lending policies. The objective of the MoU is to strengthen the consistency of EIB lending with the external policy objectives of the EU by reinforcing dialogue and planning between the two institutions, so as to optimise the use of grant and loan resources.

"This increased collaboration with the EIB will improve our ability to finance projects outside the EU in a range of areas from energy, environment and infrastructure as well as in the private sector to the benefit of the populations concerned. It will facilitate coordination, coherence and synergies between EU assistance instruments and EIB financing, thus increasing the efficiency and visibility of EU action towards third countries," said Joaquín Almunia, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner.

EIB President Philippe Maystadt also said: “This is an important milestone in the relationship between the EIB and European Commission. We already cooperate closely on policy matters within the Union. This agreement cements our role as the privileged financial partner for EU external relations.”

The Commission and the EIB are privileged partners in providing financing in support of EU policy objectives. The EIB has been lending outside the EU since 1963 with the support of an EU guarantee, complementing the Commission's political and financial initiatives for third countries.

The key objective of the new EIB external mandate (1) is to enhance the contribution of EIB financing towards EU priorities, particularly by strengthening the policy dialogue between the Commission and the EIB and through strategic planning and coherence between the external financing activities of the EIB and the Commission.

In order to provide the necessary framework for such enhanced cooperation, the Commission and the EIB have decided to conclude, a first MoU on external lending to define practical terms for dialogue, consultation and cooperation between the two institutions.

The 2006 Council Decision on the EIB external mandate foresees at least €25.8 billion of loans being made available over the period 2007-2013, broken down by region as follows:

  • Pre-accession countries, including Croatia and Turkey: €8.7 billion
  • Mediterranean: €8.7 billion
  • Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Russia: €3.7 billion
  • Latin America: €2.8 billion
  • Asia: €1 billion 
  • Republic of South Africa: €900 million

Loans totalling €1.9 billion were already signed under the new mandate in 2007. The mandate currently covers 59 countries and/or territories. The European Commission recently proposed (2) extending it to five central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. EIB activity in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries is covered by the separate Cotonou agreement.

(1) Council decision 19.12.2006, Official Journal L414 30.12.06

(2) COM (2008) 172 final