>@EIB/European Union

New investment for strategic infrastructure across Europe and around the world, including road, rail, ports, inland waterways, and airports, were amongst nearly EUR 10 billion of new lending approved this week by the Board of Europe’s long-term lending institution, the European Investment Bank. Financing was agreed, subject to final negotiation, for a total of 45 projects, including 5 schemes expected to get support from the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

Reflecting the EIB’s broader support for innovation and competitiveness the board also agreed to back new investment in corporate research in the energy, automobile, and textile sectors, as well as medical research to treat epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Lending to improve SME access to finance included new engagements approved in Austria, France, Italy and Poland, as well as Tunisia, South Africa and Zambia.

Investment in environmental, renewable energy and climate related projects in Austria, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as Armenia, Kazakhstan and across Africa, were amongst schemes approved by the EIB board that represents the bank’s 28 EU member state shareholders, as well as the European Commission.

Amongst the schemes approved were 5 expected to be supported under the new European Fund for Strategic Investments include the large scale roll out of smart meters to better manage energy use in the UK, lending to facilitate access to finance for small renewable energy projects in Germany and France, as well as upgrading inland waterways in the Netherlands. The board also approved support for two renewable energy funds, to finance smaller projects in France and across Europe that have been earmarked for support under EFSI.

Outside Europe the EIB board also agreed to support investment in renewable energy infrastructure in Nepal, emergency reconstruction of municipal infrastructure in Tbilisi following recent floods, and rehabilitation of the 41km access road to East Africa’s principal sea port in Mombasa.

EFSI Agreement Signed

Earlier today, EIB President Werner Hoyer, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice President Jyrki Katainen signed a series of technical agreements between the EIB and European Commission which complete the formal establishment of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the European Investment Advisory Hub. EFSI is a  joint initiative of the Commission and the EIB and an integral part of the Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe. Set up within the EIB, EFSI will manage a guarantee from the EU budget of EUR 16 billion and an EIB contribution of EUR 5 billion to leverage private and public investment of EUR 315 billion over the next 3 years.

“In putting money to work across Europe, speed is of the essence. The Commission, the Council, the European Parliament, and the EU Bank have worked fast and well, and EFSI now sees the light less than nine months after President Juncker and I outlined the plan at the European Parliament on 27 November last year. The EIB has already started identifying and financing projects which will get EFSI backing. We believe that Europe must act fast, and we are now delivering on that belief”, said EIB President Werner Hoyer. “Now we must ensure the success of the Investment Plan for Europe by making EFSI work as the other parts of the plan are put in place, including regulatory reform which is crucial to make the EU more welcoming for investors and entrepreneurs.”

The European Investment Bank has also nominated Vice President Ambroise Fayolle to the EFSI Steering Board that will provide strategic guidance concerning the EFSI initiative.