Erika Brown likes to bike or walk along the blue streams and the banks of the Emscher and its tributaries. The rivers are very different from the open industrial sewer they used to be. In part, the new, natural look is thanks to Erika’s work as a civil project manager on one of Europe’s biggest environmental projects. “It feels good that we are working for our people and I am proud to be part of this,” she says.
Erika, 57, works for Emschergenossenschaft, dealing with budgets, tight schedules and quality checks. She talks with local authorities to get the permits and with residents in community meetings. Since Emschergenossenschaft’s first European Investment Bank loan in 2011, Erika’s workload increased and so her team doubled. “I was happy to see those extra jobs for young talented engineers,” she says.
The Emscher renaturation project safeguards and creates 1400 jobs each year, backed by a total €1.3 billion in financing from the EU bank. Erika grabs her safety helmet, puts on a reflective jacket and heads out to the river. “There is still so much to do, but it motivates to know it’s for a better and cleaner future,” she says.
Erika’s job is one of millions touched by the work of the European Investment Bank, the EU bank. By 2021, investments signed by the EIB Group in 2017 alone are expected to have raised EU gross domestic product by 1.1% and to have created 1.2 million jobs. Even in 2036, there will still be a 0.7% increase in EU GDP as a result of the EIB's 2017 investments, as well as 650 000 extra jobs.