• Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today welcome the Action Plan presented by President Calviño to update the definition of dual-use projects and extend EIB credit lines to SMEs and innovative startups in security and defence.
  • Further to EIB Group internal approval processes, the European Investment Bank will adapt its policy for lending to the security and defence industry while safeguarding its financing capacity.
  • Starting on 1 May, a Task Force and a ‘one-stop shop’ will be put in place to streamline EIB Group processes, and thus speed up investments and access to the €6 billion earmarked for projects in this sector.
  • The EIB Group will also strengthen cooperation with the European Defence Agency and other partners to increase impact, synergies, and complementarity.

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group) will update its policies and framework for lending to the security and defence industry. This includes an update of the definition of dual-use goods and infrastructure, as well as support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups, and a commitment to accelerate the deployment of funds to strengthen Europe’s security and defence capabilities.

Boosting EIB Group support to safeguard Europe´s peace and security is one of the top strategic priorities outlined by President Calviño and endorsed by EU Finance Ministers, at their February meeting  and by the European Parliament. It was then agreed that concrete proposals would be discussed in April.

The EIB Group Security and Defence Industry Action Plan was unveiled today by EIB President Nadia Calviño at the meeting of EU Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) in Luxembourg. The Action Plan follows on from two months of intensive engagement with the Bank’s shareholders, key stakeholders and markets, and acts upon the European Council’s recent mandate to further improve access to finance for European defence firms, while safeguarding the EIB Group’s financing capacity.

“We will step up and accelerate our support for Europe’s security and defence industry while safeguarding our financing capacity and highest Environmental, Social and Governance standards. As the financial arm of the EU, we must contribute to ensuring Europe´s peace and security. The Action Plan set in motion today will improve financing conditions for European projects. We will work together with Member States and EU institutions, to speed up projects that secure the well-being of our citizens”, President Calviño said.

Going forward, the Bank will waive the requirement that dual-use projects derive more than 50% of their expected revenues from civilian use. This will align the EIB Group to public financial institutions that equally limit their financing to equipment and infrastructure that serve defensive military or police and also civilian needs, such as reconnaissance, surveillance, spectrum protection and control, decontamination, research and development, equipment, military mobility, border control and protection of other critical infrastructure, and drones.

Moreover, the EIB Group will update its rules for SMEs financing in the sector of security and defence. This will open dedicated credit lines for a great number of smaller companies and innovative startups, which require funding for dual use projects.

The EIB Group also plans to immediately strengthen partnerships and collaboration with key stakeholders, including through signing and updating memoranda of understanding with the European Defence Agency and other partners.

Crucially, the Bank also plans to streamline and improve its internal processes, creating a dedicated Task Force, and a one-stop shop for security and defence projects which will be operational by 1 May 2024. This will speed up investments and access to EIB Group funding for clients in Europe’s security and defence sector to deploy the €6 billion in financing available under the Strategic European Security Initiative (SESI), and thus further boost the EIB’s already considerable support to the European security and defence industry under the existing framework. The proposals are subject to EIB Group internal approval processes.

Background information

The European Investment Bank Group has been actively supporting investment that reinforces Europe’s defence and security industry since 2017. Beneficiaries of EIB Group financing range from household names in the defence sector to innovative startups.

Under its Strategic European Security Initiative (SESI), expanded immediately after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the EIB has earmarked €8 billion in financing for the period between 2022 and 2027. In addition, the EIF launched a  €175 million Defence Equity Facility in January 2024, which can support SMEs and start-ups in the field, such as those in the area of cybersecurity. Financing agreements signed under SESI, since the start of the war have already exceeded €2 billion.

Eligible projects under SESI will include military mobility, space, cybersecurity, green security, critical infrastructure, border protection, and other dual-use investments, such as drones. More details can be found on the dedicated page of the EIB’s website.

The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It finances investments that contribute to EU policy objectives. EIB projects bolster competitiveness, drive innovation, promote sustainable development, enhance social and territorial cohesion, contribute to peace and security, and support a just and swift transition to climate neutrality. The Group’s AAA rating allows it to borrow at favourable conditions on the global markets, benefiting its clients within the EU and beyond. The Group has highest ESG standards and a tier one capital ratio of 32%.