• In 2021, the EIB Group supported 27 operations in Portugal for a total volume of more than €5.324 billion, an increase of 128% compared to 2020.
  • As a percentage of GDP, Portugal was the second-largest beneficiary of EIB Group support in the European Union, and ranked fifth in absolute terms,
  • Portugal is among the main beneficiaries of the European Guarantee Fund, a key part of the European Union's €540 billion package of measures to address the economic difficulties and production slowdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, the EIB Group (comprising the European Investment Bank, EIB, and European Investment Fund, EIF) presented the results of its activity in Portugal in 2021. Last year, the Group signed 27 operations in the country for a total of €5.324 billion, an increase of 128% compared to 2020. Overall, Portugal was the fifth-largest beneficiary of EIB Group support in 2021 and the second as a percentage of GDP.

At the press conference in Lisbon, EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, said: “A year ago, we presented a record activity in Portugal, and we committed to do more and better. And we delivered in 2021 to Portuguese economy, to the Portuguese citizens. The EIB Group's activity in Portugal in 2021 was simply extraordinary. We signed 27 operations for more than €5 billion. We more than doubled previous year's financing. This was only possible thanks to the European Guarantee Fund (EGF), deployed in aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak to overcome the financial needs of small and medium-sized companies, the most impacted by the pandemic. This is why we dedicated 92% of the overall 2021 EIB activity in Portugal to back the investment needs of these businesses, providing them the liquidity needed to invest in their future.” VP Mourinho added: “Despite health emergency caused by the pandemic, climate change represents the biggest threat of the 21stcentury and this is the critical decade. The EIB remains mobilized to support Portugal’s transition towards a carbon neutral economy. Towards a better Portugal for all.

EIB Group response to COVID-19

The €24.4 billion European Guarantee Fund (EGF) was established in late 2020 by the EIB Group and 22 Member States to help EU companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), recover from the pandemic-related crisis. The EGF rapidly scaled up operations during 2021 and, since December 2020, the EIB Group has backed 401 individual operations in all 22 participating countries.

The EGF has played a key role in supporting Portuguese businesses. Portugal was among the main beneficiaries of the EGF, EGF through guarantees signed by EIB and EIF with Portuguese financial institutions. In 2021, the EIB Group signed 16 EGF operations in Portugal for a total guarantee amount of over €1.8 billion. This guarantee portfolio is expected to generate around €11.6 billion in financing on favourable terms for companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic, mainly SMEs.

EIB Group support for Portuguese SMEs

The pandemic has further highlighted the need to support SMEs, which represent a substantial part of the country's employment landscape.

Portugal was among the main beneficiaries of the EIB Group financing dedicated  to meeingt the liquidity requirements of these businesses, which received €4.877 billion in 2021 and accounted for 92% of the EIB Group's overall activity in the country (up by 189% compared to 2020).

It is estimated that the EIB Group supported over 22 000 Portuguese SMEs in 2021.

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. It 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, increasing its committed financing almost threefold (from €12.9 billion in 2020).

Financing reached level in the EIB’s 63-year history, thanks to the European Guarantee Fund (EGF), 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.

Beyond the European Union, the EIB Group provided €8.1 billion of financing in 2021. As the EU bank, the EIB 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 beyond the European Union and establish EIB Global, a branch dedicated to international partnerships and development finance. 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.

Background information

The figures provided in this press release are unaudited and provisional.

The European Guarantee Fund (EGF) was set up by the EIB Group with contributions from Portugal 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, mostly to small and medium-sized enterprises. The EGF is part of the European Union’s recovery package aiming to provide a total boost of €540 billion to those parts of the EU economy that have been hit the worst.