The EIB continues to finance strategic infrastructure and the modernisation of Slovak cities
Intermediated lending supported 2 700 businesses in Slovakia last year alone
Slovakia is the first EU Member State to commit a contribution to the Economic Resilience Initiative
2018 is a year of two anniversaries: the EIB is celebrating its 60th birthday and the Slovak Republic is commemorating its establishment 25 years ago. Since 1993, the EIB has provided EUR 8.2bn in loans to the country to help reduce disparities in regional development, strengthen economic competitiveness and improve people’s living standards.
EIB products are tailored to address the investment gaps in Slovakia – supporting projects ranging from basic infrastructure in transport, communications, energy and the environment to financing the investments of small and medium-sized companies via local financial institutions and the development of a knowledge economy.
“EIB support for Slovakia is well balanced and covers all major sectors of the country’s economy. The strategic gas infrastructure project that we have signed today will contribute to the energy independence of Slovakia and all of Central Europe,” commented EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák. “In the future we envisage providing increasing support for the development of Smart Cities and Regions in Slovakia for the benefit of Slovakia’s citizens. Additionally, we will focus on delivering more blending instruments – to provide more investments with less money.”
Financing Strategic Energy infrastructure for the region
The EIB is providing a loan of EUR 70m to Eustream, the Slovak gas transmission system operator, to finance the construction of the first high-pressure interconnecting gas pipeline between Świnoujście in Poland and Veľké Kapušany in Slovakia. The 164-km long pipeline is defined by the EU as a Project of Common Interest. It will improve energy security throughout Central and South-East Europe because it diversifies options for gas deliveries. The interconnection is benefiting from a EUR 112.3m grant from the Connecting Europe Facility, representing one of the largest amounts awarded to a single project. The new gas infrastructure will also enable gas supplies in the case of a gas shortage, facilitating access to gas supplies from the Świnoujście LNG terminal in Poland and bringing gas to consumers in the South-East of Poland.
The Director General of Eustream Rastislav Ňukovič said: “This loan from EIB will help us to implement a project that is important for market integration and regional energy security. Since this an EU Project of Common Interest we are proud that we have signed the finance contract with the EIB, the European Union’s bank.”
Loans supporting 2 700 SMEs and mid-caps
In 2017, the EIB made EUR 210m of new funding available to six Slovak banks and leasing companies, aimed to finance some 2 000 SMEs, mid-cap companies and public sector entities. These credit lines meet the EIB’s priority of supporting Europe’s small businesses.
In Slovakia in 2017, the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the EIB Group, committed EUR 1.7m in one microfinance operation, expected to mobilise EUR 20m supporting 4 400 jobs in 729 SMEs.
EUR 200m for the modernisation of Slovak Regions and Cities
Financing the modernisation of cities is another priority for the Bank in Slovakia. The EIB has signed several framework loans for a combined amount of some EUR 194m with the regions of Bratislava, Košice and Prešov, and the city of Prešov. In the Bratislava region, last year the EIB provided EUR 25m for the Programme of Economic and Social Development This loan will contribute to financing energy efficiency investments – in public buildings such as schools, universities, hospitals and theatres – as well as to sustainable mobility and traffic safety improvements in the regional roads network.
The EIB also provided the Prešov Region with a EUR 5m increase to the loan signed back in 2014.
Smart Cities: advising today, financing tomorrow
But the EIB does not only finance projects, it also advises cities and regions to develop and set up projects. In order to foster the development of Smart Cities and Regions in Slovakia, the EU bank shares know-how and expertise from cities in other EU Member States. It has created Smart Cities investment platforms and provides services via URBIS to advise, help prepare projects and propose financing solutions to cities to become smart, modern, green and innovative. URBIS represents a dedicated window of the European Investment Advisory Hub established as a part of the Investment plan for Europe. Today, the EIB is launching a pilot project to provide assistance for second-tier cities to develop their Smart cities strategy. Assistance will be provided to Nitra and Prešov within the EIB’s Jaspers (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions) programme.
Slovak support for the EU bank’s Economic Resilience Initiative
Slovakia was the first EU Member State to pledge a contribution to the European Investment Bank’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI). The ERI is an investment programme that helps to tackle the migration challenge in Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans.
The EIB Group, comprising the EIB and its subsidiary, the EIF, provided EUR 631 in loans, guarantees and equity in Slovakia in 2018. This represents an increase of 93% compared to EIB support in Slovakia in 2017.
The EIB provided new loans totalling to EUR 874m and the European Investment Fund (EIF – building together with EIB the EIB Group) executed operations in Slovakia amounting to EUR 44m. The bank focused mainly on support to projects contributing to the sustainable growth, creation of new employment opportunities and on co-financing priority investments receiving support from EU funds.