EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska’s opening speech on the second day of the EIB Group Forum

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Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the second day of the EIB Group Forum. I am very convinced that the fruitful discussions of yesterday about unlocking productive investments in Europe in a challenging global geopolitical and economic context have duly set the stage for the programme of today.

I am particularly glad that EIB stands today side-by-side with the representatives of the European Commission, our important Team Europe partner. Together we face the windstorms of today and of the future.

And we live in truly extraordinary times. Last week marked the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In this sad and difficult situation, we are inspired by the strength of the Ukrainian people.

We reflect on the terrible cost to Ukrainians, in terms of lives lost and the destruction of their homes and infrastructure, as well as on their courage and resilience, which has inspired international admiration.

The world has lurched from one crisis to the next in recent years. Now it faces several crises all at once. We find ourselves in what many call a “Polycrisis.”

From climate change to war and energy insecurity, Europe is facing profound challenges. Yet, if every crisis creates an opportunity and we are faced with so many, then this is the time of “polyopportunity”.

In such times, our capacity to withstand or recover from such difficulties — our resilience — must be our focus. Yet how can we strengthen our resilience to so many complex challenges all at once?

In the face of multiple challenges, collaboration is the key to building resilience. Global challenges require global responses.

As a multilateral institution, we know this because cooperation is in our DNA. I am proud that EIB Global, as part of Team Europe, is committed to mobilising 100 billion euros by 2027 through the Global Gateway.

You will hear much more about this initiative in the dedicated afternoon session.

I am also proud that Europeans have come together to help Ukraine in its hour of need. Millions of Ukrainians have found refuge in the European Union.

The European Investment Bank has provided nearly two billion euros in support of Ukraine.

Our help has been so far consistently delivered to all of the key areas of the Ukrainian economy both on the side of the public administration and in the private sector alike.

Alongside our partners at the European Commission, international financial institutions, and EU Member States, we want to step up our support to ensure that Ukraine can recover quickly and continue to develop as a free and democratic nation.

As a part of this effort - this month the Bank has given a green light to commence the process of fundraising for a new trust fund that shall enable the continuation of our engagement in Ukraine, as President Hoyer mentioned yesterday.

Our determination to continue supporting Ukraine remains unshaken.

The war in Ukraine has also opened our eyes to the fact that the green transition is also a security imperative.

The loss of Russian gas is not the fundamental problem; it is our dependence on it which we have allowed to build up over decades, that we need to roll back.

Decarbonization is indispensable to the climate and environment crisis. It is also the only way to ensure safe, affordable and secure energy for Europe and the world.

In 2019, the EIB was on the right side of history with our Energy Lending Policy. We decided to end financing for unabated fossil fuel projects and to focus our support on projects that are fully aligned with the Paris Agreement.

To reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels to zero by 2030, we will need to invest close to 300 billion euros in green technologies and the green transition.

As the EU bank, we work closely with our partners in the European Commission and other EU institutions and are ready to help Europe weather the current crisis and emerge stronger and more autonomous.

We plan to mobilise up to 115 billion euros of new investment under the REPowerEU plan by 2027.

This investment will help to diversify sources of secure energy, speed up the energy transition and improve energy efficiency across the European Union.

This support comes on top of our significant regular lending operations in the sector.

Innovation will play a key role in speeding up the transition.

Yet, the EIB Investment Report, that our Chief Economist Debora Revoltella will present today, shows that European firms are still less likely to innovate or adopt new technologies than their US peers.

Part of the problem is that when European innovators seek support to roll out promising new technologies, they often have to turn elsewhere.

They either move offshore in search of growth capital, or they are bought by global competitors.

To make sure that emerging technologies made in Europe, stay in Europe and serve Europe, we need to ensure that promising companies can access European sources of capital to fund their growth.

As President Macron said a few minutes ago, we need to establish a European ecosystem that favours risk-taking and innovation.

I am excited by the fact that the EIB Group together with France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Italy have launched the European Tech Champions Initiative to support Europe’s innovative firms in their late-stage development, when they need to scale up their business.

This is essential for safeguarding the EU’s strategic autonomy, resilience and competitiveness.

Ladies and gentlemen, we gathered at this Forum to discuss how we can best adapt to a changing world.

In the face of the multiple challenges we are currently facing, It’s important not to confuse short-term fixes with longer-term solutions or to mistake the cause of our problems with their solutions.

We need to lead the way to embrace the green energy transition and work together with our partners to make our societies inclusive and resilient.

I hope you all find today’s conference enlightening and inspiring.

I will now pass the floor to Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Trade.

Thank you.