The Board of the European Investment Bank meeting approved nearly EUR 11 billion of new loans in strategic infrastructure and innovation and in support of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and mid-cap companies.

The 16 December meeting of the board also discussed the bank’s expected role implementing the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe and approved the EIB’s Corporate Operational Plan outlining activity over the next three years.

The Board approved new loans totalling EUR 1 billion for Ukraine as part of a EUR 3 billion package of special measures for the country over the 2014- 2016 period.

The EIB also approved lending EUR 50 million to Bavarian Nordic, an international biotechnology company leading in research on Ebola to accelerate work in developing a vaccine against the disease.

“Our shareholders recognise the EU Bank’s unique ability to support investment entailing well-quantified risks when these may bring benefits for people and societies. The Board reaffirmed the EIB’s support for Commission President Juncker’s initiative to boost private investment in Europe by providing enhanced risk-bearing capacity to investment across the Union, in which the Bank will play a central role. The decisions on financing projects in Ukraine and on supporting critical R&D to tackle the Ebola pandemic are evidence that the EU Bank does not shy away from taking investment where it is needed even in difficult or uncertain circumstances.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

In total, the EIB’s Board of Directors approved loans worth EUR 10.9 billion. This includes EUR 6.4 billion for strategic infrastructure and EUR 2.7 billion for the knowledge economy and research investment. Corporate investment by SMEs and mid-cap companies will also benefit from new loans worth nearly EUR 1 billion to be managed by local banks and financial institutions.

Loans in support of investment in strategic infrastructure include support for investment in new roads in Poland, Germany, Ireland and the UK; upgrading ports in France and Italy; and investment in public transport in Paris, Sofia and Krakow.

Loans in the knowledge economy and research sectors include support for schools and universities in Germany and Ireland, university research in Poland and railway technology in Austria.

The EIB’s Board of Directors comprises representatives of all 28 EU Member States, which are the shareholders of the bank, and the European Commission. Loan approvals by the board represent an important milestone prior to final negotiation, where loan amounts may change.

On 15th December, the Board of Directors of the European Investment Fund (EIF) approved 9 new operations through which the EIF will further reinforce its support for SMEs. These deals represent EIF commitments of EUR 355 million and are expected to leverage EUR 2.18 billion of private investment. With these decisions, the number of deals approved in 2014 now amounts to 118, with commitments in the order of EUR 3.58 billion with an expected overall leverage of over EUR 15 billion. These operations will support innovation and competitiveness of SMEs and small mid-caps, notably through initiatives under the recently launched “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” and “COSME” programmes.