A delegation from the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) and the European Commission will visit Wales to highlight the potential opportunities to tap into significant infrastructure financing and maximise the impact of EU funding.
The networking event is the first to be undertaken in the UK and among the first in Europe – bringing together the EIB, the European, Commission, and public and private project promoters from across Wales.
Last year, European Commission President Juncker launched the Investment Plan for Europe, including plans to establish a €315 billion European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) over the next three years.
During 2014, the EIB alone provided more than £6 billion to support the long-term investment of a broad range of infrastructure projects across the UK. The EIB is already supporting a number of projects in Wales, including the recently opened state of the art Swansea University Bay campus which received a £60m long-term loan through the bank.
Finance and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt opened the networking event and highlighted Wales’ close relationship with the EIB.
Finance Minister said: “Despite unprecedented cuts to our capital Budget, we have maintained an ‘economic stimulus’ policy here in Wales and sought additional and innovative finance to boost our investment in Welsh infrastructure.
“Since the launch of the Investment Plan for Europe, I have had a number of positive discussions with Jonathan Taylor, UK Vice President of the European Investment Bank. I am therefore delighted to welcome a European delegation to Wales to highlight the potential opportunities to attract significant financing and maximise the impact of EU funding to boost the Welsh economy.
“Wales already benefits greatly from our relationship with the EIB as well as other institutions - most recently highlighted by the newly opened state of the art Swansea University Bay campus. Today’s event, which is amongst the first of its kind undertaken in Europe, is about building on this and encouraging public and private project promoters from across Wales to make the most of these opportunities to develop funding solutions for infrastructure investment in Wales.”
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President said: “Over more than 40 years the European Investment Bank has supported projects that improve lives and unlock economic opportunities across Wales such as the A55 on the North Wales coast, innovative investment by Welsh Water and the brand new Bay Campus at Swansea University. This week’s workshop will ensure that Welsh companies and organisations can benefit from new lending for smaller schemes and experienced share from elsewhere in Europe under the new European Fund for Strategic Investments. The European Investment Bank works closely with devolved administrations across Europe and we value the close cooperation with Welsh partners.”
Earlier this week, the Finance Minister visited Velindre NHS Trust to meet the project team responsible for delivering a £210 million scheme, which is at the heart of the Trust’s programme to transform the delivery of cancer care services. The plans will see the building of a new Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff and the provision of enhanced services closer to home.
The plans will be formally submitted to the Welsh Government during the summer of 2016. If approved, construction of this first project in the Welsh Government’s Non-profit Distribution (NPD) investment pipeline will start in 2018, with the first patients seen at to the new Velindre Cancer Centre in 2021/22.
Patients, carers and families have been at the heart of the programme and worked in partnership with Velindre, local health boards and voluntary sector organisations and in designing the required services and facilities.
Finance Minister added: “The Velindre hospital redevelopment scheme, supported through innovative finance, is integral to transforming cancer services in South East Wales. The NPD scheme is also one of a number of infrastructure projects in Wales that the EIB has expressed a strong interest in financing.
“The scheme has the potential to not only provide a transformed environment for patients but also act as a pioneering centre for research and trial activities in Wales.”
Programme Director at Velindre NHS Trust Carl James said: “We at Velindre are excited about the opportunity the Welsh Government has given us to provide high quality services and a better patient and staff environment at Velindre cancer centre, and across south east Wales, with our health board partners and the voluntary sector. This will assist in improving cancer outcomes in Wales.”