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    Activity Report 2020

    The EU bank's CRISIS SOLUTIONS – from support for micro loans to multilateral development programmes. With special sections on COVID-19, climate and development.

    Report Overview


    by President Werner Hoyer

    2020 Highlights  

    Lending, impact and borrowing data on all the EIB’s work within the EU, its loans backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, and around the globe.

    COVID Solutions  

    Stories of people and businesses helped by our pandemic safety net, and innovative investments to beat the disease.

    Climate Solutions  

    Innovative projects to fight global warming and drive a green recovery.

    Development Solutions  

    Projects that fight the pandemic and the climate crisis, while building a sustainable future for developing countries.

    Group Operational Plan 

    What the EIB aims to achieve in the year ahead.


    How the Bank is managed.

    Foreword by the President

    Faced with the immediate challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Investment Bank acted decisively to protect jobs, to back crisis-afflicted industries and to help absorb the most violent of economic shocks. In doing so, we did not lessen our commitment to the long-term battle against the climate threat. We used our experience and expertise to incorporate our climate goals into our pandemic safety net. It is in nobody’s interest simply to rebuild. With the EIB, Europe and the world can build back better.

    In 2020, we fought COVID-19 itself, with investments in companies researching tests, therapeutics and vaccines. Our financing supported health systems in countries across the European Union and backed the development of key technologies that might, in fact, shorten the pandemic. We confronted the disease’s impact on the economy with a raft of immediate measures to inject liquidity into the economy for small business in particular, even as we prepared the more comprehensive Pan-European Guarantee Fund.

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    Unlike previous shocks, this crisis originates in the real economy, not the financial or sovereign sectors. Millions of perfectly healthy firms suddenly suffered liquidity problems due to lockdowns. By providing up to €200 billion of investment to the real economy, the Pan-European Guarantee Fund is already helping ensure that healthy firms (and the jobs they provide) are safeguarded – and that their troubles do not migrate to the banking sector and, thence, to public sector balance sheets.

    As the world’s biggest long-term multilateral borrower and lender, we did all this whilst paying careful attention to the implications of our investment for the challenges that shall remain after COVID-19. And we did it with a global perspective. Our investment is sustainable and green, battling the pandemic even as we lay the foundations for a crucial decade of struggle against climate change. We partnered with other multilaterals and investors to ensure that a solution for COVID-19 would be shared with developing countries too, approving a €400 million deal with COVAX, a global initiative to promote equal access to a vaccine in developing countries. This was a moral responsibility, and it is also a key contribution to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    In development, too, we must harmonise the desire to create jobs and growth with a serious approach to climate investment. After all, our EU climate action will not stop global warming by itself, because 90% of emissions are generated outside the European Union. If the growing demand for energy in Africa, for example, is addressed through coal- and gas-fired power plants, our climate ambitions will literally go up in smoke.

    An equitable spread of investment is not just a matter of global north and south. Regional convergence within the European Union has slowed in recent years, in particular between urban and rural areas. We need to make sure that COVID-19 does not accentuate this divide. As with COVID-19 and climate change, our cohesion investments are aimed at immediate economic gain and long-term sustainability. The “just transition”, which bolsters regions moving away from polluting industries, also makes absolute market sense. Look at the record of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, which in 2020 successfully concluded its five-year march to over €500 billion in supported investment. EFSI is fully market-driven, yet the top five recipients of EIB loans backed by the EFSI guarantee, measured against GDP, are Estonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal and Latvia. Four out of ten EFSI operations from the EIB are located in Cohesion areas. When our backing offered an opportunity, Cohesion regions responded with bankable projects. EFSI mobilised investments all over Europe that would otherwise have been too risky. EFSI shows how to support private sector investment with relatively low public spending. This is important for the just transition and is valuable experience to be carried through to the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the European Union’s COVID-19 stimulus programme.

    In 2020, our focus on the crucial climate decade ahead did not waver. Our Climate Bank Roadmap, approved by our Board in November, lays out all the intricate parameters of our climate work for 2021-2025. This groundbreaking document highlights our commitment to align all our work with the Paris Agreement. The EIB is now the first multilateral development bank that will spend no money – zero – on anything that has a negative climate impact. The EIB is the EU climate bank, and the largest section of this Activity Report illustrates our work to counter global warming.

    Innovation is key to our climate action ambitions. We cannot rely on current business models to achieve the massive cuts in emissions necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. We need enormous increases in the use of existing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, as well as the development of new climate technologies. Yet any economic downturn hurts new technology investment, because it is perceived as risky and non-essential. There could be no worse time for a slump in innovation. Europe and the world needs more than ever what tech brings to the table: disruption of business as usual and accelerated and exponential growth.

    At the EIB, we are doing our part to maintain innovation investment. By providing long-term financing and reducing investment risk, we promote a more predictable market environment for new, sustainable technologies. We do not measure our success by the amount of money we lend. We look for impact, for contributions to the structural changes required in Europe’s economy and for advances in the prosperity and safety of ordinary people around the world. The European Investment Bank is proof that Europe delivers.

    Werner Hoyer

    - Read less

    2020 Highlights

    Where the money comes from

    The European Investment Bank, the world’s largest multilateral borrower and lender, raised €70 billion on the international capital markets in 2020. The Bank’s issuance reaches investors who might not typically invest in Europe and who contribute indirectly to European projects by investing in EIB bonds.

    The Bank issued bonds in 19 currencies, with the majority raised in the core currencies of European euros, US dollars and British pounds. Diversified sources and tenors give flexibility to the Bank’s funding strategy. The multi-currency approach also enables the EIB to access some local currencies for disbursements.


    Issuance by currency

    COVID Solutions

    With a direct equity-type portfolio in life sciences of €1.5 billion supporting more than 60 highly innovative European biotech and medtech companies, the EIB is the largest player in Europe.
    Yu Zhang, Head of Life Sciences and Biotech, Operations Directorate


    Climate solutions

    For the EIB, the recovery is green and it must move us firmly toward net-zero emissions.
    Elina Kamenitzer, Head of Climate Action and Environment Coordination, Operations Directorate


    Development Solutions

    Putting people, human rights and social inclusion at the centre of development efforts maximises opportunities and benefits for all.
    Yasmine Pagni, Head of Social Policy, Projects Directorate


    Group Operational Plan highlights

    The pandemic sent shockwaves through the economy and dramatically altered the EIB Group’s operations. Nevertheless, the European Investment Bank Group is committed to increasing support for the recovery.

    We will increase financing for the climate and environment.

    We will keep promoting cohesion among European Union countries.

    We will back the technological transformation of companies, spurring innovation, making companies more efficient and improving services.

    We will work hard to implement EU mandates in the new Multiannual Financial Framework and work with Member States and the European Commission to support the Next Generation EU plan for economic recovery.

    The European Investment Fund’s activities will increase significantly in 2021, primarily because of its key role in the European Guarantee Fund and other responses to fight the COVID-19 crisis.

    The new European Guarantee Fund’s activities are over and above the financing presented in our Operational Plan.

    Group governance will be strengthened with a new risk and compliance programme overseen by a Group Chief Risk Officer appointed in 2020.

    Read the full Operational Plan for 2021


    The EIB is an EU body, accountable to the Member States, and a bank following applicable best banking practice in decision-making, management and controls.

    At the start of 2020, the Board of Governors was made up of government ministers from each of the then 28 Member States, usually Ministers of Finance. (With the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 1 February 2020, that number fell to 27.) The Governors set out the Bank’s credit policy guidelines and once a year approve the annual accounts. They decide on capital increases and the Bank’s participation in financing operations outside the European Union. They also appoint the Board of Directors, the Management Committee and the Audit Committee. The EIB’s Governors unanimously agreed in 2019 that the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union would not have any impact on the EIB’s strong subscribed capital base. Indeed, the EIB capital subscribed by Poland and Romania increased on 1 March 2020, providing the EIB with a higher capital base than before Brexit.

    The Board of Directors takes decisions on loans, borrowing programmes and other financing matters. It meets ten times a year to ensure that the Bank runs in accordance with EU Treaties, the Bank’s own Statute, and general directives laid down by the Board of Governors. As of 1 February 2020, there are now 28 directors, one nominated by each Member State and one by the European Commission. There are also 31 alternate directors. To broaden the Board of Directors’ professional expertise, six experts may be co-opted to participate in Board meetings as non-voting advisers. Decisions are taken by a majority representing at least 50% of the capital subscribed by the Member States and one-third of Board members entitled to vote, unless otherwise provided for in the Statute. The Board is chaired by the President, in a non-voting capacity.

    The Management Committee is the Bank’s resident decision-making body. It oversees the day-to-day running of the Bank, prepares decisions for the Board of Directors and ensures that these are implemented. It meets once a week. The Management Committee works under the authority of the President and the supervision of the Board of Directors. The other eight members are the EIB’s Vice-Presidents. Members are appointed for a renewable period of up to six years and are responsible solely to the Bank.

    The Bank has an independent Audit Committee answerable directly to the Board of Governors. It is responsible for the audit of the Bank’s accounts and for verifying that the activities of the Bank conform to best banking practice. The statement of the Audit Committee is submitted to the Board of Governors with the annual report of the Board of Directors. The Audit Committee is composed of six members appointed for a non-renewable term of six consecutive financial years.