The European Investment Bank (EIB) today approved €4.8 billion of new financing for investment in rural areas, energy transition, transport and the private sector across Europe.

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.

Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank, commented on the move, stating: “Tackling climate change is a priority for Europe and the EU Bank.

Today, the EIB 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,” he said.

“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.

Among other areas, the approved finance will go towards investments in: tackling climate change and improving environmental sustainability; addressing challenges facing rural regions; and improving waste management and circular economy innovation.

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.

On addressing challenges facing rural regions, 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 agri-business in Zambia and commercial nature conservation that supports rural communities across southern Africa.

Finally, on improving waste management and circular economy innovation, 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, according to the EIB.