These are some of the results from the EIB Investment Survey 2022 focused on Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe presented today at the Euromoney conference in Vienna. The survey presents unique, firm-level information collected from April to July 2022 from 5 000 firms in the CESEE region. It covers financing issues and other challenges that firms face such as investment needs, climate change and digital transformation, and investigates the impact of the war in Ukraine and COVID-19.
Read the full report here.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova said, “Our economic survey highlights that the impact of the current energy crisis is even more pronounced in CESEE than in other parts of the European Union. A renewable and sustainable response is the best way to support Europe’s energy security. To speed up the green transition and reduce the region’s dependency on fossil fuels, the EIB plans to boost clean energy financing and mobilise up to €115 billion in investment for energy efficiency, renewables, grids, charging infrastructure and storage.”
Debora Revoltella, EIB Chief Economist, added, “The repeated shocks of the last three years have brought multiple challenges for companies across CESEE and the rest of Europe. Firms in CESEE are taking action: They are prioritising innovation (more than the EU average), remaining export-oriented and embracing advanced digital technologies (in line with the European Union and the United States). However, fewer firms in CESEE invest in intangible assets (research and development, software and training) than in the European Union as a whole. Uncertainty and skills, together with energy costs, are the most relevant long-term barriers to investment.”
More investment in innovation and tackling climate change
Around half of businesses reported that climate change impacts their activities, with one in ten reporting a “major impact”. However, only one-third of them had improved their resilience to physical risks related to climate change during the previous financial year. Firms in Romania (49%) and Estonia (40%) were most likely to have improved their resilience, while those in Hungary were least likely (21%). Most firms are taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in Romania (93%) and Poland (90%), but less so in Bulgaria (70%).
In contrast to the European Union overall, firms in CESEE are more inclined to perceive the transition to stricter climate standards as a risk rather than an opportunity. The infrastructure sector in particular sees the transition to a net-zero emissions economy over the next five years as a risk (41%). At company level the same is true of Lithuaniam firms (43%); companies in Romania, by contrast, are most likely to see the green economy as an opportunity. At the same time, Lithuania has the highest share of firms that have already invested and plan to invest in tackling climate change over the next three years, followed by Romania and Slovenia.