• The European Investment Bank, Banco de España and Banco de Portugal today hosted a conference entitled “Financing Corporates: Lessons from the COVID-19 Crisis and Challenges Ahead.”
  • The EIB presented results of its annual EIB Investment Report and Survey (EIBIS) for Spain and for Portugal providing insights into investment dynamics and investment needs.
  • EIB Vice President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira and representatives of the national banks of Spain and Portugal, presented their views on a post-pandemic business environment in Iberia.

As part of a series of events organised to debate current trends in investment in different EU Member States, Banco de España, Banco de Portugal and the European Investment Bank, hosted their first joint conference entitled “Financing Corporates: Lessons from the COVID-19 Crisis and Challenges Ahead.”

More than 70 business leaders, bankers, economists, and public sector partners attended the event at the Banco de Espana headquarters in Madrid. Experts presented the main results of the 2021 EIB Investment Surveys for Spain and Portugal, and discussed the impact of the policy support deployed during the crisis with central bankers. European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Fereira delivered the keynote speech. European Investment Bank Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, Governor of Banco de España Pablo Hernández de Cos and the Head of the Governor’s Office at the Banco de Portugal, Alvaro Novo, discussed the role of the European Next Generation EU programme and of structural reforms in the growth of European economies. Speakers outlined policies which could support corporates in the challenging and uncertain economic environment, taking into account the war in Ukraine.

“EIB economic reports conclude that corporates are increasingly in favour of digital investments in a post-pandemic world which is crucial to remain competitive and to avoid widening cross-regional gaps. Our analysis of EIB venture debt financing shows that beneficiaries’ value added increased by around 50% on average, relative to comparable firms that did not receive EIB venture debt financing to boost R&D and innovation. The EIB Group stands ready to help Spanish and Portuguese firms to overcome the challenges and barriers to investment. As discussed during the joint conference today, we must also take into account the situation in Ukraine and deliver a coordinated EU policy response. The EIB has prepared an emergency solidarity package for Ukraine of €2 billion, including the provision of €668 million in immediate liquidity assistance to the Ukrainian authorities". Said Ricardo Mourinho Félix, European Investment Bank Vice-President in his closing remarks.

Key topics discussed during the conference

The high-level event will delve deeply into current issues affecting businesses in Spain and Portugal including, the liquidity needs of the firms as a consequence of the pandemic, the EGF and public guarantee programmes, the solvency problems faced by firms as a consequence on the pandemic and the possible policy support, the contribution of the direct aids to mitigate them In the current geopolitical context, the conference also considered the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the EU economies and financial system. Participants also discussed how the new environment would affect the twin transition.

Recovery as a springboard for change

The EIB working paper discussed during the conference presents a view on support for companies during the crisis. The survey is part of the annual EIB Group Survey on Investment and Investment Finance (EIBIS), an EU-wide survey of 13 500 firms that gathers quantitative information on the investment activities of both SMEs and larger corporates, their financing requirements, and the difficulties they face. Chapter 3 of the EIB’s Investment Report discusses the recovery as a springboard for change for corporates. The report shows that public support has enhanced companies’ ability to rebound from the crisis and provides ground for a sustainable recovery strengthening the economy in the long term.

As part of the public policy response to the COVID-19 crisis, the euro area finance ministers agreed on 9 April 2020 to establish the European Guarantee Fund (EGF). The EGF was set up at the initiative of the EIB Group, which is also responsible for its management. EU members are expected to contribute up to €25 billion in guarantees. The fund is intended to provide additional financing to EU enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to enable them to withstand the economic shock and to subsequently grow.

Vulnerabilities arising from the war in Ukraine

The EIB has prepared an emergency solidarity package for Ukraine of €2 billion, including the provision of €668 million in immediate liquidity assistance to the Ukrainian authorities. This has been developed in close collaboration with the European Commission. As part of this package, the Bank is also accelerating the delivery of an additional €1.3 billion of commitments made for infrastructure projects. Of the emergency liquidity assistance, €329 million has been disbursed. In parallel, the Bank is developing a multi-billion euro package for the EU Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, the EU Enlargement Region and Central Asia to mitigate the consequences of the refugee crisis, and help address the social and economic fallout caused by the war. Within the EU, the EIB will work closely with Member States, National Promotional Banks and the European Commission to prepare an action plan to help alleviate the impact of the refugee crisis on EU countries hosting refugees.