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    ©Vio Dudau/EIB
    • EU Ministers, meeting as EIB Board of Governors, formally endorsed the EIB Group Strategic Roadmap laying out eight key priorities for the EU financing arm.
    • Eight priorities include climate action, digitalisation and innovation, security and defence, cohesion, agriculture and bioeconomy, social infrastructure, impact investments outside the EU and contributing to reinforce Europe´s capital markets.
    • Governors also initiated the process to change the EIB statute to enable the EIB Group to use its full potential to support the European economy, while preserving the Bank’s stellar credit rating, leverage and capital position.

    The adoption of the Strategic Roadmap follows several months of intensive engagement between President Nadia Calviño and EU governments, key partners and stakeholders, including dedicated discussions during the ECOFIN meetings in February and April.

    The endorsed Roadmap includes the following main elements:

    Launch of a targeted “Strategic Tech-EU” investment programme to accelerate digitalisation and innovation in strategic technologies, such as artificial intelligence, microchips, life sciences and quantum computing. This initiative will cover the entire value chain, including critical raw materials, thus reinforcing Europe’s strategic autonomy and fostering home-grown innovation.

    Following the mandate of the Eurogroup, the EIB will expand the successful European Tech Champions Initiative to attract private capital to finance the scaling up of innovative start ups.

    It will also replicate the model of standardised financial instruments in other areas to crowd in private investment in sectors like energy efficiency for small- and medium-sized enterprises and building retrofitting. These initiatives will contribute to advance the EU’s capital markets union.

    The EIB will reinforce its investments and develop new financial instruments to boost European resilience in water management and support agriculture, bioeconomy, and food security. These programmes will provide liquidity, pool resources and de-risk investments.

    Outside the EU, the EIB Group will reinforce its focus on impact, with support to Ukraine, ensuring a successful EU enlargement process, reinforcing international partnerships with neighbouring countries and supporting the EU Global Gateway strategic agenda in Africa and around the world as top priorities.   

    Ministers welcomed the concrete steps already taken to implement these priorities, including the Action Plan to further step-up support for Europe’s security and defence industry, while safeguarding the bank's financing capacity. The EIB Group has already adapted its lending policy to extend the scope of investments that can be financed in the areas of security and defence, including military mobility, border protection and other critical infrastructures, de-mining and de-contamination, cybersecurity, space, R&D and other dual use technologies and infrastructures.

    Governors have also set in motion the process to make certain changes to the statute of the EIB. In line with other international financial institutions, this statutory change will give the EIB Board of Governors the competence to determine the gearing ratio, which sets a nominal maximum to the balance-sheet of loans outstanding as a percentage of subscribed capital.

    The legislative procedure for this statutory change will now be taken forward by the EIB governing bodies and the Council, in consultation with the European Parliament, the European Commission, and some national parliaments.

    Subject to the statute being changed, Governors have agreed to raise the Gearing Ratio limit from 250% to 290%, enabling the EIB to maintain planned 2024 annual lending volumes and implement additional mandates and guarantees from the EU budget, whilst preserving its leverage and capital ratios. This will provide sufficient headroom to implement the Strategic Roadmap and for critical investment in areas such as clean energy, batteries, social and territorial cohesion, and security and defence, boosting European strategic autonomy. Under the new limit, the EIB would maintain its very high Core Tier 1 capital ratio, further enhanced by internal measures to boost efficiency and profitability, and this with no impact on European taxpayers.

    The EIB will continue investing over half of its annual financing in climate action, with a focus on clean and affordable energy, and remains on track to support €1 trillion in green investment in the critical decade to 2030. The Strategic Roadmap also plans for almost half of the EIB’s annual lending to go to projects in cohesion regions. This, combined with an increased emphasis on investment in social infrastructures, such as health, affordable housing and education facilities, underscores the Group’s commitment to equitable growth and the convergence of living standards.

    “Citizens and businesses expect Europe to support investments for the future, that improve their lives, reinforce their security and offer new opportunities.  The EIB Group's Strategic Roadmap will help to do just this, safeguarding Europe’s prosperity, competitiveness and strategic autonomy” EIB Group President Nadia Calviño said. “Our shareholders have endorsed a clear plan for the coming years, which builds on the strengths of the EIB Group and paves the way for increasing its efficiency and impact, boosting investment where it will make a difference.”

    New Chairs

    The EIB’s Board of Governors, comprised of Ministers designated by each of the 27 Member States, usually Finance Ministers, also welcomed a new Chair of Governors,  the appointment of a new Chair of the Audit Committee, as well as approving the Audit Committee’s annual report.

    Today’s annual meeting was chaired by Vincent Van Peteghem, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. “The EIB is a formidable European instrument that mobilises public and private financing toward investment priorities shared by Member States,” Van Peteghem said, handing over the rotating position of Chair of the Board of Governors to Bulgaria. “It has been a privilege and pleasure to chair the Bank's Board of Governors for the past year, and I am especially glad to hand over the Chair following a decision to empower the EU bank to do more in the future, on the basis of a clear Roadmap.”

    “Being the financing arm of the EU, the EIB Group will continue to deliver financing in support of key priorities inside and outside the Union. The EIB Group has a crucial role in support for green and digital transition, cohesion and regions hit hardest by the invasion of Ukraine,” Bulgaria’s interim Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Lyudmila Petkova said: “The EIB’s expertise and strong capital position will be the basis for keeping its leading role and addressing the challenges ahead.”

    As part of the rotation foreseen by the EIB Rules of Procedures, the chairmanship of the Audit Committee was handed over for the next one-year period from Christoph Haas to Nuno Gracias Fernandes. During the Board of Governors meeting the Audit Committee presented its annual report which will be published in due course.

    Background information

    The European Investment Bank (ElB) Group is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It finances sound investment contributing toward EU policy goals, including competitiveness, innovation, sustainable development, social and territorial cohesion, as well as the just and swift transition to climate neutrality.

    The EIB Group, which also includes the European Investment Fund (EIF), signed a total of €88 billion in new financing last year. These commitments will finance over 900 projects and are expected to mobilise around €320 billion in investment, reaching 400,000 companies and supporting 5.4 million jobs.

    Around 90% of the EIB Group´s lending finances investments inside the EU whereas 10% targets projects outside the EU and global strategic alliances, for instance with the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

    All new projects financed by the EIB Group are aligned with Paris Climate Accord, while investments in unabated fossil-fuels are not eligible for funding. The EIB Group is on track to deliver on its commitment to support  €1 trillion in climate and environmental sustainability investment in the decade to 2030, making good on its pledges under the Climate Bank Roadmap. Over half of the EIB Group’s annual financing is signed for projects directly contributing to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and a healthier environment, while nearly half of the EIB’s financing inside the EU is channelled into cohesion regions, where per-capita-income is lower, highlighting the Bank’s commitment to equitable growth and the convergence of living standards.