EIB President Nadia Calviño introduced the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola at the launch of Forum Europa in Brussels.

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Well, thank you very much, Diego.

Good morning, everyone.

Dear President Metsola, dear Roberta, dear friends. So many friends I see here today. Thank you very much for coming.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to welcome you all here today and it's a fantastic privilege, I think, to be a here, present at this founding moment of the New Economy Forum – the Nueva Economia Forum – here at the heart of the European Union in Brussels. We all know, I mean the Spanish persons in the room know very well how Nueva Economia Forum has established its brand as one of the most interesting debate organizers in our country.

But I think today's event is marking the extension, the enlargement of this initiative, going beyond national borders with this international edition. And I think there couldn’t be a better moment to actually take this step, because Europe is really at a crossroads.

The European Union has taken very important decisions just in the last weeks – just thinking about the areas where I am active. I’m talking about our budget, talking about economic governance, support for Ukraine – these areas and these decisions, I think, show that when we all work together, we can really be strong and lead the way together.

We can make a difference, and in closing the investment gap for the twin green and digital transitions, in seizing this opportunity to foster growth, adjust the transition process and so, make these transitions a European success.

I think, together we can deepen our single market, contribute to Europe's competitiveness, strategic autonomy and  economic security, facing in a successful manner the current geopolitical and international uncertainties. And at the end of the day make Europe a better place to live for future generations.

And there are of course many persons in this room, but there is one special person in this room that is making a tremendous effort to raise awareness of Europe’s value-added and the importance of voting in the upcoming elections. Convincing citizens that it is up to them to shape the future, to decide what Europe they want. What do they want the future of their children and grandchildren to be like, and this is, of course, is Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament.

Now we know each other for quite a while, and we've been together in many different circumstances and events. But you know, when I was asked whether I would like to introduce Roberta in today's event, I didn't hesitate for one second, and let me share with you why.

First, because I think that the fact of having a female president of the European Parliament is an inspiration for all of us – men and women. And after Simone Veil and Nicole Fontaine, you are the third woman to have been elected as president of the European Parliament, which makes us all very proud. And together with Ursula von der Leyen, Christine Lagarde, you are now also showing female leadership at the helm of the European Union, in Europe's cockpit, really. This is unprecedented and I think this is a very important change, a force for change that also reassures that things will get done, and – no comment on this – but I think it really gives a sense of action, a driving force for standing up for what we stand for, and I think that should really be praised.


I remember very well you being one of the first leaders that visited Kyiv just after the outbreak of the war, shortly after the aggression. And I think we're all very well aware of your energy and your special encouragement to young people to engage, to be active, proactive and to take decisions. And I think this energy will surely bear fruit now.

I also think this is a very timely event because of the upcoming elections and it's very important to see that we are all united together in explaining to European citizens what Europe is doing for us. And many will question, “What's Europe doing for us? Why should I go and vote? Why should I support pro-European parties?”

Now… and this is my moment of advertisement… I'll be very short, but I can assure you the European Investment Bank Group can provide many examples, many down-to-earth, real-life examples of why Europe matters and what Europe is doing for European citizens.

We support hundreds of projects every day which directly benefit businesses, companies and economies, and the reality on the ground. Wherever you will go in the coming weeks, you will be seeing an EIB-financed project. I have no doubt whatsoever. This morning, as we were coming here, I passed many projects. We don't have the signs – I wish we did – but projects that have been financed by the European Investment Bank.

Just three examples of what we have done in the last weeks, and I've been able to see since I took office at the beginning of January:

We have just supported a Swedish company, Northvolt, to expand, to build the first circular battery production outside Asia with a €1 billion investment. We cherished and we nurtured the project from the start, and we see how this is contributing to European strategic autonomy.

But we also are financing the connection between Sicily, Sardinia and the Italian peninsula with a nearly 1 000 kilometre submarine cable.

We are also supporting, just some days ago, farmers in Greece so that they can be more resilient in front of droughts and also water-related disasters.

And all of these are showing how the green transition, and cohesion policy (the director-general for cohesion policy is here) you will always hear me say this: the green transition, cohesion policy, competitiveness are just three different sides of a coin and we need to make them the strength of Europe going forward.

Let me turn to your beautiful home country, just to mention how last autumn we joined forces with the Malta Development Bank and signed a €30 million loan to finance small-scale green investments. And these are solar roofs. This is charging infrastructures, in public and private buildings, waste recycling projects.

Partnerships like these are at the heart of our success and I am proud, as the president of the European Investment Bank Group, to be part of an institution that translates ideas, dreams, expectations and European policies into real projects on the ground.

Deepening our partnership with other institutions and, in particular, with the European Parliament is one of my top priorities since I took this job and one where you will see me absolutely committed going forward.

So those are the reasons why I am so extremely glad – and beyond our daily cooperation, we're working very closely also with the communication team in the run up to the elections – that I could today feature and signal this unity and the importance of partnerships and the power of working together, in introducing the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.