The board of directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a total of €3.4 billion of new financing that will strengthen business, research and innovation and enable companies to expand and improve access to water, transport, agriculture and education.

This will support new projects in 17 countries, according to the institution, announcing the move last Thursday, May 16.

“Europe must build on its technological and scientific strengths and remain competitive for future generations,” Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank, said.

“The EU bank backed new investment that will allow world-class companies to expand, scientists to improve medicine and healthcare, and ensure that research can flourish,” Hoyer added.

The board of directors meeting focused on a number of issues, namely:
  • Accelerating research and innovation;
  • Supporting business and jobs;
  • Reducing flood risk and improving wastewater treatment; and
  • Investment backed by the Investment Plan for Europe.

In terms of accelerating research and innovation, the EIB agreed €820 million of new financing to support innovation and combat climate change.

New projects will strengthen fundamental research in Poland and Germany, enhance neuroscience and back development of battery technology by Northvolt at its gigafactory in Sweden, according to the bank.

On the business and jobs front, the EIB approved more than €2 billion of financing to support new investment by small and medium-sized companies.

This, according to the bank, will include dedicated credit lines to ensure that companies in vulnerable sectors can grow, and financing reaches programmes that target the specific investment challenges faced by female entrepreneurs, farmers and firms involved in the circular economy.

The EU bank agreed financing for a new programme to support tourism investment in south-west France, while trade across central Europe will also benefit from EIB financing to improve rail connections to the Slovenian port of Koper.

In addition, new EIB support will back local private sector financing initiatives with partners in Italy, Spain and Malawi.

On the water front, the EIB approved nearly €500 million of new support for water and river management investment.

Thousands of people living in communities vulnerable to flooding will benefit from new EIB investment to reduce the risk of flooding of the Waal River in the Netherlands and the Rio Salado in northern Argentina, according to the investment bank.

The EIB also agreed to support new investment to upgrade the sewage network in the Serbian capital city Belgrade.

Finally, €770 million of investment backed by the Investment Plan for Europe will take the form of financing for five projects approved by the EIB board, which will be guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

This is expected to support overall investment totalling more than €2.8 billion, according to the investment bank.