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The Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank today approved EUR 5.3 billion of new loans to support small business lending and finance new investment in schools, corporate research and development, water infrastructure, local transport schemes, and urban regeneration. EIB financing for 8 of the 26 projects is expected to be guaranteed by the EU budget guarantee under the Investment Plan for Europe. 

The EIB board backed more than EUR 2 billion of new support to strengthen investment by small business across Europe. This included cooperation with national promotional banks and other intermediaries in Spain, Italy and Germany, providing guarantees to enable new lending, and targeted engagement to unlock investment in supply chain companies in Portugal. 

Meeting at the EIB’s headquarters in Luxembourg, representatives of the EIB’s shareholders, the 28 EU member states, approved a total of 26 different loans, including 8 projects earmarked for financing by the EIB under the EU budget guarantee as part of the Investment Plan for Europe. 

“The EIB Group is delivering on the financial side of the Investment Plan for Europe. Less than a year since launch, the EIB Group has approved lending and guarantees under the Investment Plan for Europe that are expected to mobilise EUR 100 billion of total investment. This is nearly a third of the final EUR 315 billion target. The road ahead is long, and everyone must do their part, including in completing the common market and improving regulatory environment for investment. But progress so far is very encouraging”, said European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer. 

The small business lending programmes backed by the board builds on the proven track record of the EIB Group, comprising the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund, in providing guarantees and venture capital to financial intermediaries and allowing them to increase SME lending. All intermediary banks working with the EIB are committed to increase SME lending as a result of the EIB Group’s support. 

“The EIB Group is committed to addressing specific challenges that hinder investment by small business across Europe. We want to allow local banks to support investment by local firms. Today the Board approved new initiatives in Spain, Portugal and Italy, where new lending by partner banks will contribute to create jobs and strengthen competitiveness“, said  President Hoyer. 

The EIB also approved new lending totalling nearly EUR 4 billion for large scale investment projects including the first phase of the new Terminal 3 at Frankfurt Airport, expansion of the Espoo metro in Finland, new trains on the Liverpool rail network, water investment in Wales and the Netherlands, and higher-education, social housing, healthcare and housing facilities which could help address the refugee emergency in Germany. The EIB Board approved support for urban investment in Bologna, Gdansk and Szczecin in Poland and the German state of Hessen, alongside financing the largest near-zero energy building in Helsinki and urban development in the suburb of Pasila. 

“Across Europe and beyond opportunities are lost and economic growth delayed due to a challenging investment climate. In response the European Investment Bank is continuing to step up engagement and ensure a more targeted response to local investment needs. The broad scope of new infrastructure schemes approved today demonstrates the EU Bank’s firm resolve and clear commitment to ensuring that small business can invest, strategic infrastructure expand and crucial public services improve. We look forward to discussing how we can continue to strengthen the role of the EIB with Europe’s finance ministers, our Governors, when they meet in Brussels next week.” added President Hoyer. 

New EIB investment outside Europe included a new hospital in Bursa, the fourth most populous city in Turkey; providing mobile phone coverage in post-conflict Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon; improving irrigation in Armenia; and improving wastewater treatment in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. 

All projects, including those earmarked for support under the EU budget guarantee, need to receive approval of the EIB Board prior to loan contracts being finalised. Loans and guarantees approved by the Board of Directors will be finalised in cooperation with promoters and beneficiaries, and figures may vary. 

The Board of Governors of the European Investment Bank will meet in Brussels on 25th May. The Board of Governors comprises Ministers designated by each of the 28 Member States, usually Finance Ministers. It lays down credit policy guidelines, approves the annual accounts and balance sheet, and decides on the Bank’s participation in financing operations outside the European Union as well as on capital increases. It also appoints the members of the Board of Directors, the Management Committee and the Audit Committee.