EIB Group President Nadia Calviño was invited by Bloomberg for an exclusive EU Elections Series event on Beyond 2024 – The EIB Group’s Vision & Strategy to Secure a Sustainable and Fair Future.

President Calviño outlined her vision for the future of ‘The Climate Bank’, the EIB’s strategy for accelerating digital and technological innovation, stepping up investments in security and defense, pioneering the Capital Markets Union, supporting Ukraine and delivering strategic investments through the Global Gateway Initiative.

Following the event, President Calviño was interviewed by Bloomberg's Oliver Crook on EIB Group's role in supporting Europe's defence industry.

  Watch the interview


How do we ensure that the European Investment Bank Group, as the financing arm of the EU, delivers on the European priorities, the political priorities; that it delivers on the expectations of European citizens and businesses; and delivers on the role that Europe has been playing - is playing, and should continue to play going forward as a force for good peace and stability at world level? And this, in a nutshell, is what I will try to just illustrate with two or three examples and reflections on the role of the EIB and our contribution in the run-up to the European elections. The key objective of the European Investment Bank, and that's what it was created for, is to be the financing arm of the EU and so to fund and invest in Europe's policies.

This, lately, has been landed as a strong contribution to closing the investment gap, in particular when it comes to supporting the green transition. And this is becoming one of the core issues that surely will be debated when we are in this run-up to the elections. And this is surely one of those areas where the reality is maybe moving faster than what policymakers would have anticipated. European companies are getting on with the green transition. They see this as an interesting business proposition. They see that climate change is not only a matter that has to do with the expectations, nice to have ideas of a sustainable future for the younger generations. This is very much connected to our security, our strategic autonomy, our competitiveness, and productivity now. And that is why private investors are looking into green investments. Private companies are supporting the green transition, are incorporating these new technologies, and this is why the European Investment Bank's role as "the" climate bank will surely be a top priority for us going forward.

A second area of key attention recently has been the area of security and defense. It is clear that Europe needs to step up and reinforce its security and defense industry, and the European Investment Bank Group is ready to do more and better in supporting this industry. Just as recently as last week, our board of directors has endorsed and approved our action plan with a view to putting in motion a dedicated task force, a one-stop shop to accelerate and speed up investments with the €6 billion that are earmarked to support investments in the area of security and defense. And they have also supported an adjustment to adapt our dual use definition with a view to removing the requirement for dual-use investments to be open to receiving our support, removing the request that more than 50% of future revenue should come from the civil use side.

And this, together with our new equity investment facility in the area of security and defense, will surely allow us to step up our support in this key area. These are just two of the eight priorities that we are going to be focusing on going forward. Also, accelerating the digitalisation and technological innovation in Europe with a view to ensuring that Europe keeps its competitive edge, which is quite clear when it comes to clean tech, green tech, and also health. And we are investing in flagship projects that have to do with gigafactories: a circular gigafactory battery production facility in Sweden, the largest solar panel factory in Sicily, in Italy. A chip factory in France and other flagship investments which are not only delivering for the welfare of European citizens but also contributing to keeping this competitive edge that I was referring to in a context which is marked, I think, by this technological competition throughout the world.

We are very well aware that one of the key principles of the European Union is social and territorial cohesion. And that's why supporting investment in those regions which are less advanced and making sure that all citizens throughout the EU have the opportunity to get financing, so that talent, which is equally distributed throughout the territory, can be matched by opportunity when it comes to financing, is another of those eight top priorities. And finishing the list comes focusing our external actions around top political priorities, supporting Europe's agriculture and biotech value chain, and contributing to the capital markets union so that we can also finance the growth of European tech champions and European innovators, and fund Europe's unicorns going forward. I can elaborate for hours on all these top priorities. So let me just close with a very general reflection on what the EIB can do to also continue to build the European project and convince European voters of the need to support pro-European options going forward, since I'm participating in this series having to do with European elections.

And I think when we look at what the EIB has delivered in these years, we see how good it has been for European member states, which have paid in €22 billion in capital and have mobilized more than €5 trillion in investments. And that explains the progress that has been made throughout the decades in terms of infrastructures, in terms of innovation, new technologies, prosperity throughout the EU. Going forward, we hope to be able to contribute even more to Europe's priorities. Unlike other multilateral development institutions that need to increase their capital endowment, the European Investment Bank Group has a very solid capital position. We have a very solid AAA, a very balanced portfolio. We have one of the largest balance sheets of multilateral financing institutions.

We will put forward to our shareholders a proposal to remove a statutory gearing ratio, which was an nominal cap, an outdated nominal cap dating back to the 50s, which no longer corresponds to the business model of the EIB. It's not risk-based, it is not a modern leverage ratio as other financial institutions have. And if we remove this statutory nominal limit, we don't need a capital increase in order to be able to continue to make a significant contribution to Europe's prosperity and also contribute, I hope, to improving the state of the world from a geopolitical point of view. Let me close with this positive idea, and I'm very happy to take your questions here, Arlene, as well as those of our viewers and people attending this call, this event here today.

Thank you very much.