EIB President Werner Hoyer’s speech at the opening ceremony of the European Development Days 2022.

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and an honour to be here.

Last year, I met many of the leaders that are here with us today, still with a lot of precautions and social distancing, but one sensed optimism that normality would return after the COVID-19 pandemic.

None of us imagined that Russia was planning a war with global consequences. We were quite rightly focused on addressing the fallout of the pandemic, and the twin challenges of digital and green transformation. And, crucially, on how we could turn these challenges into opportunities.

The world has changed since President Von der Leyen first announced the Global Gateway as a new EU geostrategic priority. And the change is, unfortunately, not for the better.

The relevance of the Global Gateway initiative has only increased as we need to:

  • enhance connections with our partners - those represented here today and many others around the world
  • address the challenges of food and energy security
  • double down on the Sustainable Development Goals to counter an alarming trajectory
  • and protect vulnerable communities globally from the devastating consequences of climate change, COVID, and now - this war.

It is essential to accelerate transformational investment, and we must find adequate models to finance it.

The time is now! The conversations at EDDs must lead us to tangible outcomes, based on true partnership, common priorities, and mutual interests.

At the EIB we stand ready to deliver concrete investment-based solutions for the challenges we are facing.  

It seems to me that the War in Ukraine is the strongest possible argument for greening our economies and accelerating our independence from fossil fuels.

This decade remains critical to address our planet's climate emergency. To achieve this, trillions of investments are required. It is clear that the issue cannot be solved by single actors alone.

Last year at the EIB we dedicated more than one third of our lending outside the EU to climate action. In Africa, for example, together with our partners, we are supporting solar energy in Zambia, wind power and geothermal projects in Kenya, hydropower in Liberia, Ghana and Madagascar and off-grid solutions that will improve access to energy for households and micro-entrepreneurs.

We need to continue on this path and multiply our efforts.

I believe the COVID-19 pandemic can offer some useful lessons. At the beginning, everybody thought it would take 3-5 years to develop a new COVID vaccine.

In the end, it took 10 months, thanks to the willingness of investors, like the EIB [with the support of the European Commission], to take risks from which traditional investors shied away.

And only few months later, we are supporting the deployment of mRNA technology in developing countries to tackle COVID and many other diseases.

We need this determination again!

Take hydrogen.

Take digitalisation.

Take education and skills and opportunities for women.

Take key enabling infrastructure and its relevance for food value chains, and access to agricultural markets.

For how long can we postpone these transformational investments?

We need the courage to invest in quality projects to make progress now.

Team Europe brings a strong value proposition, and this is why I believe our partners can count on the link between the Global Gateway and the European Investment Bank’s global activities. 

This goes to the very heart of what the EIB does:

  • As we are an engineer-driven bank, infrastructure projects have traditionally been an important part of what we do.
  • And when it comes to energy, we are at the forefront of promoting new sustainable energy solutions globally.
  • We are also the international financial organisation with the largest exposure in the digital economy sector [our current portfolio accounts for €11.5 billion].

With our newly established, specialised arm for international partnerships, EIB Global, we now intend to bring these activities to the next level, and closer to our global partners.

As the European Commission’s key partner in delivering Global Gateways, we will help step up Team Europe investments around the world.

Let’s work together to achieve these ambitious aims.

Thank you for your attention.