The EIB, Europe’s long-term lending institution, approved today more than EUR 17 billion of new loans to support investment in telecommunications, water infrastructure, renewable energy, roads, schools and hospitals, and backed lending for small business investment across Europe and around the world.

The European Investment Bank also gave its support to a new climate action lending strategy, to strengthen the impact of its engagement for climate related investment and renewable energy. The EIB Climate Action strategy consolidates the target of ensuring that at least 25% of its lending supports climate related investment. This financing leverages and sustains growing investment from the private sector in support of the transition to a low-carbon economy. The strategy also addresses the need to invest in projects aimed at adapting to climate changes which are already occurring, and sets the goal of ensuring all EIB lending takes account of the need to mitigate the extent and the effects of climate change.

Meeting in The Hague, the EIB’s Board of Directors also discussed initiatives the EU Bank could take to complement Europe’s response to the emergency relating to refugees arriving into the European Union. “This is the greatest change in Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall”, said EIB President Werner Hoyer. “The EIB can help Member States in the short term, for example by financing modular lodgings to ensure people who arrive can be hosted with dignity. And it can help in the medium term, by supporting swift investment in health, education, and skills. Crucially, the EIB can help through the work it does in the refugees’ countries of origin, helping improve economic and social conditions there.”

The EIB Board approved support for strategic infrastructure investment totalling nearly EUR 7 billion. This includes new offshore windfarms off the UK and Belgian coasts, new investment in trains in Hungary, Spain, France, Germany, Bulgaria and Sweden, plans to upgrade a German motorway link, and improving high-speed internet connections in Germany.

The EIB’s shareholders also agreed in principle that the EU Bank would provide nearly EUR 5.5 billion to unlock new private sector investment by small businesses and mid-cap companies across Europe and Africa. This includes both lending through new local partners, and new operations with local banks that have successfully supported investment under previous EIB backed credit lines.

Significant new investment in education and research was agreed for new school projects in Austria and university and research facilities in the UK and across Poland.

The meeting of representatives of the EIB’s shareholders, the 28 EU member states, and the European Commission, took place in the historic Ridderzaal, in the Binnenhof parliamentary buildings in the Hague.  The EIB Board meets outside Luxembourg once a year in the country that will next hold the European Union presidency.

Outside the European Union, the board agreed to support essential investment in economic infrastructure in the Ukraine, ensuring the country can finance its fuel requirements as winter approaches. Financing was also approved for power generation projects in Egypt and for power distribution and generation on remote islands in the Maldives.

New loans expected to be supported under the European Fund for Strategic Investments initiative were approved for seven projects.

All projects, including 8 earmarked for support under the EFSI guarantee, need to receive approval of the EIB board prior to loan contracts being finalised. Over recent months the EIB has undertaken technical and financial due diligence for projects expected to be supported under the EFSI initiative, as well as financing of projects from the bank’s own balance sheet, called for by the European Council.

Once final loan details are concluded the EIB Group is committed to supporting projects earmarked for financing under EFSI on its balance sheet even if the EU guarantee should be found not to apply.