Strengthening the long-term growth potential of the enlarged European economy is a key goal of the European Union's Growth Initiative. The scope for the EIB's contribution was outlined in the ECOFIN meeting of Luxembourg on 7 October 2003. The Ecofin Council of 25 November 2003 adopted the final report to the European Council, which calls upon the EIB to focus its action in sectors such as Trans-European networks, innovation, research and development and securitisation.
- Enhanced support for the financing of TENs, through the establishment of an up to 50 billion EUR senior loan facility for the period 2003-2010;
- Range of financial instruments available to be improved to increase the private sector leverage in the financing of TENs:
- (a) long-term loans with extra long maturities of up to 35 years and appropriate grace periods,
- (b) guarantees for investment grade projects during their construction phase.
Innovation and R&D
- 40 billion euros from 2003 to 2010 to be mobilised within the EIB's Innovation 2010 Initiative, bring the total to 50 billion euros from 2000 to 2010;
- New funding arrangements to be developed to foster the development and market introduction of new technologies, including grouped loans for specific research activities, technology platforms, and simplified lending procedures for midsized firms (midcaps');
- Provision of venture capital to innovative SMEs to be stepped up by the European Investment Fund (EIF) through the release of an additional 500 million euros from the Bank's operating surpluses for venture capital operations, and stepping up the Fund's guarantee and advisory activities.
The ECOFIN Council invited the EIB and the Commission to develop instruments aiming at leveraging private capital, in particular through the securitisation of existing assets. A collaboration with major European institutions is envisaged to increase the flow of funds into suitable infrastructure projects through specific co-financing mechanisms (Securitisation Trusts) that will allow public and private institutions to co-invest in investment grade infrastructure PPP projects financed by the EIB, attracting additional private finance through the securitisation of their infrastructure assets.