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  • Impact: nearly €12.771 billion for 111 operations in Spain, financing that amounts to nearly 1.07% of GDP.
  • Spain was the third biggest beneficiary in the European Union.
  • €7.25 billion went to SME support, making Spain the largest beneficiary for this objective.
  • Climate action financing rose to represent 43% of total activity, an increase of 5 percentage points compared to 2020.

The EIB Group (comprising the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund — EIF) today published the results of its activity in Spain in 2021. Last year, the EIB Group signed 111 operations in Spain worth a total of €12.771 billion (13.5% of the EIB Group’s total activity in 2021), 51% more than in 2020. Spain was once again among the three countries receiving the most financing, equalling almost 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

At the press conference in Madrid today, EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix said: “As the record volume of operations in 2021 shows, the EIB Group has mobilised substantial resources in Spain to tackle the climate, economic and public health emergency. Throughout this second pandemic year, the EIB Group has focused its efforts on helping Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises to mitigate the economic effects of the crisis and safeguard jobs, while also providing significant support for innovation and the digital transition, which are key pillars of the European Green Deal. The sharp increase in climate action investment highlights a strong commitment to our main objective: climate mitigation, climate adaptation and a sustainable recovery. As the EU climate bank, it is our responsibility to support Spain’s ambitious climate goals, in line with national strategies and the Paris Agreement.”

Supporting SMEs

The pandemic has continually highlighted the need to support SMEs, which represent a substantial part of the production and employment landscape in Spain. Among EU countries, Spain once again received the most EIB Group financing aiming to meet the liquidity requirements of these companies and ensure that they have the funds they need to keep their businesses afloat, totalling €7.25 billion in 2021 and accounting for 57% of the EIB Group's overall activity in Spain (up 73% compared to 2020).

Combating COVID-19 — the European Guarantee Fund

The European Guarantee Fund (EGF) aims to mobilise up to €200 billion in financing for European companies, with a particular focus on SMEs.

The EGF has proven to be a key role for supporting business, with EIB Group guarantees to financial institutions to keep credit flowing and back supply chains. Spain was the first country to benefit from this fund in 2020 and, during 2021, the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) signed 28 EGF operations in Spain for a total guarantee amount of over €2.6 billion. This guarantee portfolio is expected to generate around €24.4 billion in financing on favourable terms for companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic (mainly SMEs), with a positive impact on the entire supply chain.

European Investment Fund (EIF)

The projects signed in Spain in 2021 by the European Investment Fund (EIF) — the EIB subsidiary specialising in providing solutions to financial intermediaries to support SMEs and to promote innovation in Europe — totalled €3.93 billion. It was a very active year for EIF guarantees in Spain, mainly driven by the deployment of the European Guarantee Fund (EGF). In concrete terms, guarantee operations were signed with 23 financial intermediaries, 11 of which were new counterparties for the EIF. It was also a record year for activity with non-banks, such as debt fund managers, fintech and specialised financing platforms. The EIF has therefore increased both the number of financial intermediaries and their level of specialisation, covering sectors such as renewable energy, startup financing and specialised financing in the health and primary sectors, thereby supporting strategic sectors contributing to economic recovery and growth and improving cooperation between the public and private sectors in the country.

Climate action financing up once again

Combating climate change remains the biggest challenge of this century and is among the EIB's top priorities as the EU climate bank. For the sixth year in a row, the EU bank increased the percentage of its activity in the country intended to promote projects that contribute to climate action and environmental sustainability, up to a total of 43% (€3.897 billion), a 5 percentage point increase on 2020 figures. These EIB funds will go to projects including the development of clean transportation, renewable energy generation in Spain, the modernisation of power grids, energy efficiency in buildings and the construction of recycling plants.

Innovation

The EIB Group has continued to champion innovation and digital transformation as vital elements of promoting the European economic recovery and long-term competitiveness after the pandemic. To this end, the EIB Group has directed €1.561 billion to financing for innovation, digitalisation and human capital in Spain, supporting businesses in new sectors such as chemicals, education and security services.

Overall EIB Group results

For the second year in a row, the EIB Group focused on fighting the COVID-19 crisis while increasing its financing for green projects. The EIB Group worked with partners in Europe and around the world to deliver €95 billion in financing, a 23% increase from 2020. The EIB provided over €65 billion in loans, while the EIF provided just above €30 billion in guarantees and equity.

Financing hit the highest level in the EIB’s 63-year history, thanks to the European Guarantee Fund (EGF), which was established in late 2020 by the EIB Group and 22 EU Member States. Since December 2020, the EIB Group has approved €23.2 billion in financing with EGF backing, or 401 individual operations in all 22 participating countries. Investments to date are expected to mobilise €174.4 billion.

The share of EIB investments that went to climate action and environmental sustainability projects rose to 43% in 2021 (from 40% in 2020), despite the COVID-19 crisis, bringing the EIB closer to its 50% target.

Outside the European Union, the EIB Group provided €8.1 billion of financing in 2021. The EU bank is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and is a key partner of Team Europe, also contributing to the COVAX initiative to provide vaccines to developing countries. In line with the overall reform of the European Union’s global presence and initiatives, the EIB has decided to reform its activities outside the European Union and establish a branch dedicated to international partnerships and development finance. This branch will be called EIB Global. EIB Global will bring together all of the EIB’s resources and expertise gained outside the European Union under a clear management structure that can make a stronger, more focused contribution to projects.

The European Guarantee Fund (EGF) was set up by the EIB Group with contributions from Spain and other EU Member States to shield companies suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. Using nearly €25 billion in guarantees, the EGF allows the EIB and the EIF to quickly make loans, guarantees, asset-backed securities, equity and other financial instruments available to mostly small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-caps. The EGF is part of the European Union’s recovery package aiming to provide a total of €540 billion to boost the parts of the EU economy that have been hit the worst.