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EIB backs EUR4.8 billion investment in rural areas, energy transition, transport

Christian Fernsby |
The European Investment Bank (EIB) approved EUR 4.8 billion of new financing.

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This includes support for projects to improve communications in rural regions, increase private sector investment to support climate action, and accelerate the transition to clean energy, including support for Europe’s largest solar power facility.

The EIB Board of Directors’ monthly meeting in Luxembourg also discussed ambitious proposals to increase EU Bank support for climate action and environmental sustainability.

“Tackling climate change is a priority for Europe and the EU Bank. Today the European Investment Bank agreed to support Europe’s largest solar power plant, alongside clean energy and flood mitigation schemes across Europe. We also discussed ambitious proposals to expand EIB support for climate and sustainable investment in the coming years”, said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

“Europe must accelerate its efforts to address global warming and remain a global leader in climate action. The EIB is Europe’s climate bank, a leading financier of climate action projects. We look forward to working hand in hand with the European Commission to achieve ambitious climate goals.” added President Hoyer.

Recognising the significant investment needed to tackle climate change and ensure climate neutral and climate resilient infrastructure, the EIB Board discussed detailed proposals to increase the impact of EIB engagement. This includes new investment to ensure a just transition to a low-carbon future and completing the alignment of EU Bank activities with the objectives set in Paris in 2015.

These proposals are expected to be finalised in the coming months.

New long-term investment backed by the EIB includes financing fibre-optic broadband access across Lower Austria, access to finance for young farmers in France, supporting agriculture investment in Portugal, improving flood protection in Greece, and upgrading water management for agriculture in the Czech Republic.

The EIB will also support private sector agribusiness in Zambia and commercial nature conservation that supports rural communities across southern Africa.

Commuters, freight businesses and travellers in four countries will benefit from transport investment agreed by the EIB Board. This includes acquisition of new intercity trains in Poland, improving motorway access to Warsaw, and upgrading inland waterways and roads on key international transport routes in Wallonia.

Two new projects will improve water management in France. Waste facilities across the country will be modernised to increase recycling, reduce noise, and improve water treatment. A new large-scale waste to energy plant will generate clean energy from refuse from across the greater Paris region.

A further project will strengthen investment in circular economy, climate action and clean energy schemes by utility companies across Italy.

Students in the French island Guadaloupe will benefit from new EIB backed investment to expand school facilities on the island. The Board also agreed to financing for social and affordable housing in Vienna and Lower Austria.

Targeted financing for climate projects in Poland, tourism investment in Italy, and equity participation in Portugal, as well as lending programmes in Austria, Spain and Germany, were among EUR 847 million of new private sector support backed by the EIB.

This includes direct lending and new dedicated credit lines to be managed by local banks and financial partners.

Seven projects approved by the EIB board today will be guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial pillar of the Juncker plan.

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