EIB President Nadia Calviño opened the EIB Group Forum 2024, alongside Luxembourg's Prime Minister Luc Frieden and European Council President Charles Michel.

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Welcome to the EIB Forum.

As you all know, I am four weeks into my job as the new President of the EIB Group, this Forum provides me with a unique opportunity to get to know each other and to get insights and elements that can guide us in defining our strategy for the coming years. We are all partners, and we need to tackle together the challenges that are ahead of us. Partnership is one of the words that you will hear a lot today during the Forum and tomorrow. Partnership is a word you will always hear in my mouth because I am absolutely convinced that by acting, we can make things happen. Only by joining our forces are we able to succeed in the challenges we have ahead of us as Europeans.

Now, four weeks into my job I can tell you, the EIB Group is a formidable machine.

It plays a very important role in financing EU priorities, from climate and the environment to new technologies, health, innovation, housing, transport and support to SMEs.

Last year alone we signed agreements for €88 billion in investment. More than half of that was for climate and the environment. Close to half of investments in the European Union go to cohesion regions responding also to one of the core elements at the heart of our mandate – cohesion policy, to support growth and jobs in those regions which are less rich within our Union. A special word for the European Investment Fund, our subsidiary which is specialising in innovative financing, with a record investment for last year and a strong focus on SMEs – the heart of economies and also scaling up of startups in disruptive technologies: the future.

The projects we finance turn common European priorities from abstract objectives, ideas, dreams into real, tangible solutions. With our technical expertise and our constant search for financial solutions, we de-risk projects - we make projects possible!

Like the Swedish projects we approved only in these first weeks of the year for large-scale production of green steel or electric vehicle batteries, the financing for Europe’s biggest solar gigafactory in Italy these are just some of the signatures we’ve had in the first weeks of the year. Yesterday during the Board of Directors meeting we approved a very large investment into an innovative green hydrogen project in Portugal.

These are good examples of public-private partnership which is of the essence if we want to beat climate change and increase Europe’s competitiveness.

And that makes this event, the EIB Group Forum, particularly relevant and timely, as a meeting point, to exchange ideas between key policymakers who hold the purse-strings, also prominent players in the institutions and the private sector. We need to ensure that private investors are also driving and agreeing with our public policies and we need to make sure we bring citizens along. And that’s why representatives of civil society that are present here today are very warmly welcomed to the Forum.  

A final word on a policy priority especially close to my heart: gender equality. It is one of the European Union’s basic values, and a key objective of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is a driver for economic development, higher incomes per capita, more efficient and effective businesses, more stability, more security overall. Estimates of growth and job creation from closing the gender gap make a very strong case for private and public investment to drive this policy forward. 

I am especially happy that immediately after the Forum, we will hold a meeting of the new Women Climate Leaders Network to seek feedback to bring out energies together on these initiatives.

Inside and outside the EU, our actions contribute to stability and security, and we need to continue on this track.  

A final word on 2024.

In 2024, over 4 billion people will head to the polls to vote in countries around the world. The outcome of some of these elections could be very consequential for Europe, for all of us. In many countries, climate change is a major issue on the ballot, reminding us of the importance of ensuring a just transition for the sectors and communities that are going to be particularly affected by this.  

In the run up to these elections, many will ask: What is Europe doing for us? Why should we support the European project?

Well, I think this Forum is going to provide us with many valuable examples that will allow us to respond in a determined and forceful manner to explain how working together, we make things happen! And we are together working to make sure that we are building a better world for future generations.  

Let me close giving special thanks to those that have made the Forum possible.

There is a lot of invisible work behind this event, which I am sure will be a great success. So, enjoy the Forum, have productive discussions and bring new ideas back home! See you around.

Thank you.