The European Investment Bank (EIB) continues strong support for investment in strategic infrastructure and innovation, as well as by small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and mid-cap companies, across the European Union.

The EIB’s Board of Directors today approved loans worth EUR 1.5 billion that will benefit SMEs and mid-cap firms in the European Union. From this up to EUR 500 million will go to projects in Greece, up to EUR 400 million to projects in Ireland and up to EUR 300 million to projects in Portugal. This brings total EIB support for SMEs and mid-cap companies approved so far in 2014 to EUR 11.7 billion.

The EIB’s Board of Directors comprises representatives of all 28 member state shareholders of the bank and the European Commission. Loan approvals by the board represent an important milestone prior to final financial and legal negotiation where loan amounts may change.

Loans worth a total of EUR 2.2 billion were approved for investment in strategic infrastructure. This includes up to EUR 600 million to support rail infrastructure across Austria, up to EUR 325 million for the improvement of electricity distribution systems in Spain and up to EUR 213 million for the widening of a German motorway.

Reflecting other key priorities of the bank, EUR 1.9 billion of loans were approved for research and development, including up to EUR 500 million for the improvement of fuel consumption, emissions reduction and efficiency enhancement of vehicles in Germany and EUR 475 million in the Czech Republic. Spain will profit from loans worth up to EUR 515 million for a public research and development programme.

The Board of Directors of the European Investment Fund approved 8 new operations on 15th September through which the EIF will further reinforce its support for SMEs. These deals represent EIF commitments of EUR 240.31 million and are expected to leverage EUR 1.7 billion of capital. With these new approvals, the number of deals approved in 2014 now amounts to 83, with commitments in the order of EUR 2.4 billion and an expected overall leverage of EUR 10.9 billion.