>@Tim Smit/Globalfoundries
©Tim Smit/ Globalfoundries

At its first meeting of 2017 earlier today the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank approved more than EUR 7.8 billion of new financing to support investment in strategic infrastructure, innovation and more efficient use of natural resources, as well as backing more than EUR 3.1 billion of new support for small business investment.

“Without innovation, Europe will not become and remain competitive. Today the EIB has approved new financing to support development of next generation semiconductors in Germany, innovation to strengthen the nutritional benefits of dairy products in Denmark and upgrading university research in Ireland. The EU Bank is committed to unlocking investment in world class project such as these that build on Europe’s research and innovation strengths.” confirmed Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

The board meeting followed detailed discussions between EIB board members and representatives of more than 105 civil society organisations, business associations and think tanks from across Europe.

“Close cooperation with civil society helps increase the EIB Group’s impact. It helps us work better. It reflects our responsibilities as a publically owned bank. My EIB colleagues and EIB Board members welcome the scope and depth of discussion such as the one we had yesterday.” added Werner Hoyer.

New investment in industrial innovation and research
Reflecting the EIB’s commitment to support innovation and world-class research new financing was agreed for semiconductor research and development and production of a new generation of semiconductors in Germany, innovation to improve the nutritional benefits of dairy products in Denmark and construction of an ultramodern, environmentally compatible silicon metal production plant in Iceland.

Support to education, healthcare and social housing
The EIB board approved new support for construction and refurbishment of schools in Finland, refurbishment of the National University of Ireland Galway Campus, complete redevelopment of a hospital in the Italian city of Treviso, and social housing in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Strategic infrastructure investment
More than EUR 2.6 billion of new financing for strategic infrastructure was approved. This includes support for new investment to enable 70% of Italian households to access broadband wireless communications, financing for upgrading congested international road links across Poland and rural transport infrastructure in central Spain. The EIB board also backed financing for the new Blankenburg motorway tunnel to improve road access to the Europe’s largest port in Rotterdam.

Two new loans totalling EUR 550 million were also agreed to finance expansion of Orly airport in Paris and to cater for the expected increase in passengers travelling through Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

Renewable energy and environmental investment
New support for renewable energy including backing construction of a 650 MW wind farm in Sweden as well as eight windfarms and two solar photovoltaic plants expected to generate 181 MW of green energy in France. Financing for a fleet of natural gas powered buses in Mallorca, upgrading wastewater treatment across Flanders and a new transmission link to a windfarm off the UK coast was also supported.

Smaller schemes with infrastructure investment partners
The EIB is also expected to increase equity participation in two infrastructure funds focusing on the Baltic states and energy, transport and social projects in the Nordic region. A proposal to jointly finance medium sized energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects in conjunction with an Italian national promotional bank was also approved.

Proposed new financing for small scale flood protection initiatives and urban investment in the Netherlands and small scale leasing for companies in Germany was also agreed.

Improving lives and strengthening economic opportunities outside Europe
The EIB board also backed support for water investment in Bangladesh to strengthen supply of clean drinking water for the 14 million people living in Dhaka, one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Proposed support for a new bridge over the Senegal River and support for small business investment in Egypt was also agreed.

New EIB lending under the Investment Plan for Europe
New support for 14 projects, representing more EUR 2 billion of new EIB lending, is expected to be supported by the guarantee under the Investment Plan for Europe. This includes financing for new investment in education, innovation, roads, communications and renewable energy. New lending backed by the joint EIB-European Commission guarantee will support investment in eight EU member states.

The EIB approved financing for four public private partnership projects in Italy, Finland, Poland and the Netherlands.

The EIB Board of Directors includes representatives of the bank’s 28 EU member state shareholders, as well as the European Commission.

This week’s EIB Board meeting follows a meeting of the EFSI Investment Committee, held on 30th January. It approved 14 projects which the Investment Committee had cleared for financing under the Investment Plan for Europe guarantee from the EU Budget. Projects approved by the Investment committee may be submitted to the next or future EIB Board meetings for final approval.

Negotiations for the approved loans are expected to be finalised in the coming months. 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.