At a press conference today in Brussels, Viviane Reding, European Commissioner responsible for Cultural and Audiovisual Affairs, presented the eLearning action plan - Designing Tomorrow's Education. This initiative appears in the same context as the EIB Group's Innovation 2000 Initiative programme (i2i) designed to support investment linked to an information and knowledge-driven economy and society.

Under Innovation 2000 Initiative, the EIB can finance projects in the following areas:

  • School infrastructure and equipment - connection of schools to digital networks, IT equipment, computer classrooms, virtual libraries and universities;
  • Training facilities and programmes for educational staff to encourage the use of information and communication technologies in the learning process;
  • Development of multimedia educational software and content, and inter-connection of universities and research centres across the European Union;
  • Development of science parks and incubators to promote innovation and open implementation towards the labour market.

The i2i programme aims to dedicate a lending programme of EUR 12-15 billion over a three year period . The EIB, therefore, represents an important source of capital resources for the development of digital literacy across the European Union.

The Bank has made available its traditional financing instruments, i.e. individual loans for large-scale projects (upwards of EUR 25 million) and global loans available via banks or financial institutions for small and medium-scale projects. The EIB Group has been developing equity venture capital operations through the European Investment Fund (EIF), its venture capital branch, which operates as a fund of funds and supports the development of innovative start-ups as well as incubators and research parks. Additionally, the EIB has considerable experience with Public Private Partnership structures (PPPs) being used for the financing of projects in the Education sector.