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  • EU climate bank increases financing for green transition projects to €1.4 billion in 2022.
  • 65% of all financing signed in Greece last year devoted to climate action and environmental sustainability.
  • Total EIB Group financing signatures in the country was €2.2 billion.

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), which consists of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), reported another year of impressive results in Greece, with record support for climate-friendly projects and overall financing signed in 2022 reaching €2.2 billion.

Both the public and private sector turned to the EIB for support for long-term investments in renewables, clean transport and energy security and efficiency projects in a year when EIB Group financing signed in Greece was higher than in any other EU country as a share of GDP. Overall, climate action and environmental sustainability accounted for 65% of the EIB Group’s total engagement in Greece in 2022, or €1.4 billion. Financing to provide support for research innovation and to SMEs were also two other key pillars of the EIB Group activity last year.

“In 2022, EIB Group financing agreed in Greece reached €2.2 billion – more than in any other country as a GDP percentage. Additionally, €1.4 billion of this financing – a record high ratio – was allocated to climate action and environmental sustainability in Greece. The EIB Group also had a significant contribution to two more priority areas: promoting research and innovation and supporting SMEs, which are the backbone of our economy. Having the EIB as our steady ally, we continue implementing, dynamically and consistently, key investments and reforms which pave the way to Greece’s decisive shift towards a new, fair, sustainable and socially just economic model,” said Christos Staikouras, Greece’s Minister of Finance and EIB Governor.

“It has been another strong year of EIB engagement in Greece with the EIB Group providing again excellent results in the form of substantial new financing for transformational investment across the county spanning both the public and private sector, as well as a record of climate change operations reaching 65% of the overall amount. From support to SMEs, to financing the extension of the Athens metro, to clean energy and investment in Research Centers, the EIB is here to help the Greek economy grow and its people to prosper,” said Ioannis Kaltsas, Head of the EIB’s Investment Team for Greece.

Sustainable transport

During the year, the EU bank agreed a record €580 million in financing to extend the Athens Metro, a key infrastructure project which is both crucial to improve daily life in the Greek capital and support economic growth, as all while cutting carbon emissions and pollution. The EIB also signed an agreement to finance the development of an extended network of EV-charging and hydrogen stations, a pioneering project for sustainable transport in Greece which will begin in the coming months.

Energy security, energy efficiency and energy transition

Flagship energy projects include an agreement to commit €28.5 million in financing for the Public Power Corporation (PPC) Group’s renewable energy arm. The EIB financing can reach up to a maximum amount of €35 million over the coming months and help support the construction of three new 230MWp capacity solar farms in Kozani, in the Western Macedonia Just Transition region. The EIB loan is backed by the new European investment support programme (InvestEU) and is part of Greece’s ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan.

Additionally, the EIB is also contributing €157million, which, combined with €108 million of Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funds, will be used for a landmark project to connect the Cyclades islands to the mainland electrical grid. The loan with Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) was agreed in principle in late 2022 and announced in early 2023.

Finally, the EIB continued its large-scale engagement in the financing of climate action projects and green investments undertaken by SMEs and MidCaps in Greece by signing two loans totalling €500 million with the National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank. This raises the total amount made available by the EIB over the past two years through Greek banks exclusively for the financing of green projects undertaken by SMEs and MidCaps to €750 million.

Research and Innovation

Research and Innovation is another essential part of the EIB Group’s activity in Greece. The EIB is providing €125 million in financing for important digitalization projects in the public health, social security, justice, transport, communications, and media sectors. This support will help facilitate public sector transactions, improve the lives of Greek citizens, create a more friendly environment entrepreneurs, while also acting as catalyst to attract further investment in the country.

Also, a €119 million loan over 25 years will help six of the country’s most prominent Research Centers get upgrades and expand strategic research and development (R&D) infrastructure in Greece, an investment anticipated to create more than 700 full-time jobs, including 525 highly-skilled research professionals.

In the industrial and technology sector, the EIB’s targeted investments included a €125 million venture debt facility with OneDealer International, an automotive software solutions company, to expand and accelerate its R&D operations in Greece. This support will promote skills and innovation in software research, while also creating new tech jobs in Greece.

Another highlight in 2022 was the official launch of the InvestEU programme in Greece in November 2022, including the InvestEU Advisory Hub agreement, which paves the way for new investments and related advisory assistance in support of Europe’s post-pandemic recovery and green and digital transitions.

SME competitiveness

Strengthening the competitiveness of SMEs is traditionally at the heart of EIB Group’s activity in Greece. This was demonstrated again in 2022 by agreeing guarantee transactions totaling €164 million (on top of the €500m funding provided for climate action projects undertaken by SMEs). This is made up of €149 million credit protection provided jointly by the EIB and EIF to Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank under the European Guarantee Fund (“EGF”), and €15 million provided by the EIF to Eurobank under Invest EU. This support is expected to unlock up to €1.16 billion in new financing for Greek SMEs and Midcaps, helping companies get easier access to finance.

The EIF support to Greek SMEs was further reinforced as Greece signed off on a new contractual framework for the EIF to manage an additional €400 million of RRF investments in Greece to help small to medium businesses in the country. The deal signed comes on top of the €5 billion RRF funds already entrusted to the EIB. In 2022, Greece ranked 14th in the EU, representing 1.8% of total 2022 EIF financing in absolute numbers.

EIB Advisory Activities

In parallel, EIB Advisory continued supporting with technical assistance both public and private sector on a number of initiatives and infrastructure projects relating to transport and mobility, environment and climate, digital innovation and urban development, as well as capacity building initiatives targeting SMEs. The Advisory activities in 2022 included supporting the public sector in strengthening the climate adaptation dimension of investment planning at national level and identifying regional adaptation investment projects, projects covering wastewater management, road, rail, urban transport, Just Transition Fund projects pipeline, as well as regional authorities with the implementation of their energy efficiency investment programme.

Background information:

EIB Group 2022 results

Overall EIB Group financing signed last year reached €72.5 billion, which is expected to support around €260 billion in investment and create 950,000 jobs by 2026. Almost half of EIB lending in the European Union (46%) was signed for projects in cohesion regions, underlying the Bank’s support for equitable growth and the convergence of living standards.

The EIB offered immediate relief to Ukraine right after the outbreak of the war, disbursing €1.7 billion in funds last year to help finance emergency repairs to the country’s infrastructure ravaged by Russian bombing. The Bank remains committed to stepping up its activities in Ukraine, in line with the mandate given by EU leaders, and in close cooperation with the European Commission, the European Parliament and international partners.

Green financing from the EIB increased substantially again to €36.5 billion (58% of the total), meaning that the Bank met its commitment to devote at least half of its resources to climate action and environmental sustainability, well ahead of its 2025 target. Overall, the EIB Group is well on track to achieve its objective of supporting €1 trillion in green investment this decade, having already backed €222 billion in investment over the past two years.

The EIB Group signed a record amount in new financing for renewables, efficiency, storage and grids in 2022, highlighting the EU bank’s unwavering commitment to ensure access to affordable energy at a time of extreme uncertainty. Total EIB financing signed for sustainable energy projects inside the European Union reached an unprecedented €17.06 billion, as the Bank began rolling out a special package of support for the REPowerEU plan to end dependency on Russian fuel imports.