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Belgium: Aquafin signs second €100m tranche with EIB to finance wastewater treatment

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  • Signing concerns the 2nd tranche of 11th EIB-loan granted to Aquafin in 2019 to expand wastewater treatment infrastructure for Flemish cities and municipalities.
  • €100 mln financing will be used to finance investments that will further boost the percentage of treated wastewater in Flanders up to 2022.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Flemish wastewater treatment company Aquafin continue their longstanding collaboration with the signature of a new financing agreement worth €100 million. It concerns the second tranche of the eleventh financing agreement between the two parties, for a total value of €200 million, first agreed in 2019.

The EIB has a strong tradition when it comes to supporting water management policy in Belgium. Last year, the Bank signed €154.4 million in water-related projects and since 2020 the Bank has made available nearly €2 billion for water management projects in the country.

The funds will be used to continue the expansion of wastewater collection and treatment in Flanders. Currently, over 85% of all wastewater in Flanders is collected and treated. With the help of this EIB-loan, that percentage is set to climb further in the coming years, up to an expected 98% by 2027. Thus, this financing will have a positive effect on the quality of surface waters in the region, which have already improved significantly since the first EIB-financing to Aquafin in 1994.

Apart from a number of smaller projects, the financing will be used to finance the construction of 3 new waste water treatment facilities and expand 5 existing installations, most of which are located at less than 50 km from the North Sea coast. Furthermore, a lot of existing infrastructure will be optimised or replaced, for example with separate sewage for rain- and waste water. Thus, since the project will result in a significant reduction of untreated rain and waste water reaching the North Sea, the loan contributes to the “Clean Oceans Initiative”. This initiative is meant to protect seas and oceans from pollution so that they can fully play their role as a counterweight against global warming.

Besides having a positive effect on employment, the installations that will be built and renovated will treat the waste water more efficiently, leading to a reduction in energy use and CO2-emissions. Energy efficiency measures will be carried out on all connected installations under the project.

For Flanders, the EIB is a very important funding source in order to achieve the goals of the European Water Framework Directive,” states Aquafin CEO Jan Goossens. “As a matter of fact, the projects financed with this loan do not only benefit the water quality in streams and rivers. By separating wastewater from rainwater, we also limit the risk of flooding due to heavy rains, which are increasing due to climate change. In this way, we stimulate managing rainwater locally for re-use or infiltration in the soil, which is also important with a view to drought problems. The secondary projects financed under this agreement are also distinctly ‘green’. These are aimed at improving the energy efficiency of the wastewater treatment infrastructure and generation of green electricity.”

EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters added: “I fully support this valuable project by Aquafin. This project regards a structural improvement of the Flemish ecosystem. Cleaner wastewater means less pollution in waterways, better biodiversity in these waterways and, as a consequence of that a more resilient environment for all of Flanders. This project is a perfect fit with the climate ambition of the EIB as well as with the strong tradition that the Bank has in terms of supporting water policy in Belgium. Since 2012 the EIB has made available nearly €2 billion to water projects in Belgium. Together with Aquafin, we will continue in this direction.”

Background information:

In 2020 alone, the EIB made available nearly €1.3 billion in loans for Belgian projects in various sectors, including healthcare, water management, education and SMEs. Since 2012, the EIB has made available nearly €2 Bln for water projects in Belgium, with amongst other SWDE, TMVW, HydroBru, SPGE and Aquafin.

Aquafin is commissioned by the Flemish Region to build and manage the infrastructure for the treatment of waste water for around 5 million Flemish people. To this end, the Flemish Region dedicates a project program to the company every year, including projects for which the region takes over the investments from the municipalities to ease financial pressure. At present, Aquafin has already delivered EUR 4 billion in projects for the Flemish Region and has a further EUR 1.7 billion in projects in its portfolio.

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Cyprus: EIB backs EUR 245 million of new energy and connectivity investment in 2020, including fibre-optic internet roll-out by Epic Telecom

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  • Energy transition support includes Vasilikos power plant and gas import facility
  • New financing to expand Epic broadband network
  • Cyprus largest beneficiary of EIB engagement in Europe relative to GDP

New European Investment Bank financing for priority investment in Cyprus last year totalled EUR 245 million.

2020 represented the fifth largest support for transformational projects in 40 years of EIB engagement in the country. This included support for new energy investment to reduce carbon emissions and help to reduce electricity bills, and backing for new investment to expand access to high-speed internet services.

Cyprus benefits from the largest EIB support, per capita, of any country in Europe with outstanding EIB exposure totalling EUR 2.7 billion, or 13% of national GDP.

The EIB’s annual results for Cyprus were confirmed earlier today during a virtual press conference, alongside the formal announcement of a EUR 19 million loan agreement with Epic to accelerate broadband network deployment.

Constantinos Petrides, Minister of Finance and EIB Governor, Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy and Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice President responsible for lending operations in Cyprus highlighted the impact of new EIB engagement and outlined the focus of future support. Thanos Chronopoulos, CEO of Epic and Martin Peronnet, CEO of Monaco Telecom, detailed the expected impact of new broadband investment in Cyprus and the benefits of increased connectivity seen elsewhere in Europe.

“The EIB has consistently been one of the most important and reliable partners of Cyprus for the past decades. The EIB’s continuous commitment to our country in times of crisis was once again evident as three of the measures announced by the Government to support the economy relate to EIB support. We therefore would like to ask the EIB to maintain its lending volumes at today’s level and keep supporting the public and private sector of Cyprus, as the country navigates through the financial and social implications resulting from the health crisis,” said Constantinos Petrides, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus and Governor of the European Investment Bank.

“2020 represented another strong year for the EIB in Cyprus, with EUR 245 million of new financing for visionary energy investment by Cypriot energy partners to cut carbon emissions and to enable Epic to improve broadband connectivity across Cyprus. The EIB is committed to supporting priority investment in Cyprus and pleased to back Epic’s investment to transform high-speed broadband access in Cyprus. The EIB is currently working closely with private and public partners to unlock new education, affordable housing, innovation and climate action investment in the country,” said Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice President.

Improving access to broadband internet with Epic

The EIB today confirmed details of new EUR 19 million long-term financing to Epic to support the roll-out of their Very High Capacity broadband network and related connectivity and IT investment.

“Advanced networks are one of the most fundamental blocks of the EU’s digital transformation and an essential pillar of the recovery, at national and European level. The timely deployment of fibre and 5G networks will create significant economic opportunities for the years to come, as a crucial asset for competitiveness and sustainability and a major enabler for future digital services. In this regard, I would like to thank EIB but also to congratulate both EIB and Epic for jointly engaging in this highly important initiative aimed at boosting high-capacity broadband connectivity throughout Cyprus. The long-standing engagement of the European Investment Bank in Cyprus has been and will continue to be instrumental in fostering sustainable and inclusive growth, creating an enabling environment that accelerates a successful green and digital transition,” Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Kyriacos Kokkinos.

Thousands of businesses and households across Cyprus will benefit from faster internet speeds and access to the Epic Fibre to the Home networks.

“We see ourselves as catalysts for change and growth, our FTTH project is set to radically reshape the digital experience of the Cypriot households and enterprises and accelerate economic growth by providing new opportunities for innovation and productivity. Our ambition is to introduce and lead Cyprus to the gigabit era by providing unparalleled fibre connectivity speeds at a truly affordable value in order to expedite adoption and meet the present and future digital needs of our customers in the modern era. The new EUR 19 million long-term EIB financing will allow Epic to speed up network expansion and transform broadband services in Cyprus,” said Thanos Chronopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Ltd.

The new EIB backed investment, guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, will allow EPIC customers access to Gigabit digital services and connect both towns and rural areas.

“Investment to improve broadband speeds is essential for competitiveness, business services and social life. Across Europe COVID-19 travel restrictions, working from home and lockdowns have highlighted the need to further scale up network investment and unlock digital innovation. The first ever EIB support for Epic will ensure that Cyprus is better connected in the years to come.” said Martin Peronnet, Chief Executive Officer of Monaco Telecom, parent company of Epic Ltd.

The new investment will also help to improve ultrafast broadband access, which currently lags behind the EU average.

Accelerating energy transition in Cyprus and cutting carbon emissions

Last year EIB support for energy transition in Cyprus included EUR 150 million backing for construction of a new LNG Terminal and EUR 76 million, guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, to support construction of a new power plant at Vasilikos in Cyprus by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus.

“The European Investment Bank is supporting energy transition in Cyprus and around the world. As part of its Energy Lending Policy agreed in 2019, the EIB supported a pipeline of gas projects already under appraisal, before moving to renewables-only lending from the end of 2021. The EIB looks forward to working together with energy project partners to support future clean energy investment in Cyprus.” added Lilyana Pavlova, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending operations in Cyprus.

The new LNG terminal will enable Cyprus to replace use of heavy fuel oil for power generation with natural gas, cut energy prices and reduce carbon emissions by at least 30%.

The new 160 MW CCGT Vasilikos power plant will be the most efficient gas power plant in Cyprus and

enable a shift away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution, and provide flexibility to allow greater use of intermittent wind and solar power in Cyprus in the future.

The new Vasilikos power plant is expected to generate absolute carbon emissions of 380 gCO2 / kWh,

within the European Investment Bank’s energy generation emission performance standard of 550 gCO2 / kWh in place when the project was approved.

Since the EIB board approved the two energy projects signed in 2020 the EIB has introduced a new Energy Lending Policy that will end all financing for unabated fossil-fuel power generation by the end of 2021.

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Cyprus: EUR 19 million EIB backing for Epic high-speed Fiber to the Home network roll-out

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  • New investment to transform access to Gigabit services
  • Network roll-out to connect towns and rural areas
  • First EIB support for broadband investment in Cyprus

Network expansion to improve access to the Epic high-speed broadband network in Cyprus will be accelerated by EUR 19 million long-term European Investment Bank financing confirmed today.

The new investment will support installation of 1,600km of fibre network as part of the roll-out by Epic of a Very High Capacity broadband network in Cyprus. The Fiber to the Home (FTTH) technology will allow access to Gigabit digital services and connect both towns and rural areas.

The first ever EIB support for Epic Ltd. was formally agreed at by Thanos Chronopoulos, CEO of Epic, Martin Peronnet, CEO of parent company Monaco Telecom and Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice President responsible for lending operations in Cyprus. Constantinos Petrides, Minister of Finance and EIB Governor, and Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy attended the virtual announcement.

“Advanced networks are one of the most fundamental blocks of the EU’s digital transformation and an essential pillar of the recovery, at national and European level. The timely deployment of fibre and 5G networks will create significant economic opportunities for the years to come, as a crucial asset for competitiveness and sustainability and a major enabler for future digital services. In this regard, I would like to thank EIB but also to congratulate both EIB and Epic for jointly engaging in this highly important initiative aimed at boosting high-capacity broadband connectivity throughout Cyprus. The long-standing engagement of the European Investment Bank in Cyprus has been and will continue to be instrumental in fostering sustainable and inclusive growth, creating an enabling environment that accelerates a successful green and digital transition,” Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Kyriacos Kokkinos.

“We see ourselves as catalysts for change and growth, our FTTH project is set to radically reshape the digital experience of the Cypriot households and enterprises and accelerate economic growth by providing new opportunities for innovation and productivity. Our ambition is to introduce and lead Cyprus to the gigabit era by providing unparalleled fibre connectivity speeds at a truly affordable value in order to expedite adoption and meet the present and future digital needs of our customers in the modern era. The new EUR 19 million long-term EIB financing will allow Epic to speed up network expansion and transform broadband services in Cyprus,” said Thanos Chronopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Ltd.

“Investment to improve broadband speeds is essential for competitiveness, business services and social life. Across Europe COVID-19 travel restrictions, working from home and lockdowns have highlighted the need to scale up network investment and unlock digital innovation. The first ever EIB support for Epic will ensure that Cyprus is better connected in the years to come.” said Martin Peronnet, Chief Executive Officer of Monaco Telecom, parent company of Epic Ltd.

The new investment will also help to improve ultrafast broadband access, which currently lags behind the EU average.

“The European Investment Bank recognises the importance of Epic’s long term investment for Cyprus as a knowledge economy, to strengthen business connectivity and competitiveness, and to allow households to benefit from next generation broadband services. The EIB is pleased to provide EUR 19 million in long-term financing to Epic  that will improve the productivity of the entire economy,” said Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice President.

The new EIB backed investment, supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, will allow EPIC Fiber to the Home customers to benefit from 1 Gbps download speeds and better access to digital services.

Building on EIB support for transformational telecom investment

Over the last five years the European Investment Bank has provided EUR 11.7 billion for telecom and broadband network investment around the world.

This has supported investment by leading telecom operators including Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Iliad, Orange, Magyar Telecom and Eutelsat, as well as construction of submarine communications cables to Africa, roll-out of national broadband networks and development of 5G mobile infrastructure.

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Ukraine: EIB and PRAVEX BANK join forces to enhance access to finance for SMEs affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic

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  • EIB and PRAVEX BANK have signed a €30 million loan to enhance access to finance for SMEs and mid-caps in Ukraine. 
  • The operation comes under the Team Europe initiative aiming to provide a rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and PRAVEX BANK, a member of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, have signed a €30 million credit line to support Ukrainian private sector businesses, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

SMEs are the backbone of the Ukrainian economy as they account for over 90% of local businesses, contribute more than 50% of GDP, and employ about 60% of the working population. As a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies have experienced a decrease in turnover and profitability, leading to payment delays and an increased demand for liquidity. It is now crucial to step up support for private sector businesses, thus helping to protect jobs and keep the economy going.

The operation is a part of Team Europe’s overall response to the COVID-19 crisis aiming to support a sustainable social and economic recovery in the region. 

Head of the EIB Resident Representation for Ukraine Jean-Erik de Zagon said: “Small and medium-sized enterprises are vital for the Ukrainian economy and have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis. It is one of the EIB’s top priorities to support the resilience of the private sector during this unprecedented crisis with the provision of funding through our cooperation with PRAVEX BANK. The operation aims to make available vital financing for SMEs and mid-caps to help them cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – not only to keep businesses afloat, but also to strengthen their resilience and safeguard jobs.”

Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Frederik Coene said: “More than ever during these challenging times, businesses need access to affordable credit from banks. The EIB plays an important role in the support of the private sector as part of the European Union’s overall Team Europe relief effort. This assistance comes at a time when SMEs need strong support to overcome the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Chairman of the Management Board of PRAVEX BANK Gianluca Corrias said: “Cooperation with the EIB constitutes an important step in helping our bank reach its strategic goal to expand financing of small and medium enterprises, as well as mid-caps. This credit line will help us support our clients from the real economy, providing them with the affordable loans they need in order to mitigate the economic consequences of the pandemic crisis they have faced.”

Team Europe adds value for Ukrainian companies

The EIB investment is an integral part of Team Europe’s overall response to COVID-19 and supports the sustainable social and economic recovery of the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. The operation reinforces both SMEs and mid-caps, which are the backbone of national economies and a major source of employment.

Background information:

About the EIB in Ukraine:

The EIB has worked with Ukraine since 2007. The EU bank is committed to supporting Ukraine and helping to create the conditions necessary for the achievement of economic stability. Ukraine has been the main recipient country of EIB support in the Eastern Neighbourhood, accounting for more than 60% of EIB lending activity in this region. As one of the key International Financing Institutions (IFIs) in Ukraine, the European Investment Bank focuses on social and economic infrastructure, transport and connectivity, local private sector development, energy efficiency, climate action, and innovation. The Bank supports the private sector primarily through financial intermediation, and also by providing direct loans to selected large companies. Notably, the EIB has been the first IFI to make available long-term funding in local currency to a local bank in support of Ukrainian SMEs.

PPRAVEX BANK, part of Intesa Sanpaolo Group since 2008, has been in the market of Ukraine since 1992 serving Ukrainian customers for over 25 years. The Bank has a national coverage and provides the entire range of banking services to Retail, Corporate and Institutional clients. Using the best practices and international presence of Intesa Sanpaolo Group, PRAVEX BANK offers innovative solutions for corporate clients regarding working capital and investment financing, deposits, international payments and fund transfers, and special conditions on trade finance. Among PRAVEX BANK’s main retail products are mortgages, the European Personal Loan and the Famiglia Service Package.

Intesa Sanpaolo Group is the leading bank in Italy and one of the soundest and the most profitable banks in Europe. It offers commercial, corporate investment banking, asset management and insurance services. Intesa Sanpaolo Group has approximately 14.7 million clients in Italy who are serviced through both digital and traditional channels. The Group’s international subsidiary banks serve 7.1 million customers across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Intesa Sanpaolo’s IMI Corporate and Investment Banking Division operates worldwide, with numerous branches coordinated by five Hubs in London, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai and Milan. Intesa Sanpaolo is considered one of the most sustainable banks in the world. For the Group, creating value means being a driver for growth, for the benefit of both society and the economy. With environmental concerns in mind, the Group has set up a 6 billion euro fund for the circular economy. Intesa Sanpaolo supports major economic inclusion and poverty reduction projects, including an impact fund of 1.2 billion euro for loans available to social groups who struggle to access credit. Intesa Sanpaolo has a high level of involvement in cultural initiatives, organized by the Bank or in collaboration with other entities in Italy and further afield. These include permanent and temporary exhibitions showcasing the Bank’s impressive artistic heritage at the Gallerie d’Italia, the Group’s museums located in Milan, Naples, Vicenza and soon Turin.

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Portugal: EIB lends €28.2 million to AdIN to improve water supply and wastewater management in northern Portugal

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  • The project will boost AdIN’s renewal and rehabilitation of water and wastewater infrastructure, delivering substantial environmental quality improvements and health benefits for citizens.
  • The agreement is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide up to €28.2 million in financing to support the water distribution optimisation investments of Águas do Interior – Norte (AdIN), a company that exclusively provides water supply and waste management services to eight municipalities in the north of Portugal. The operation is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Thanks to the EU bank’s support, AdIN will be able to carry out its five-year investment programme aimed at improving water supply and waste management services for about 95 000 people in the municipalities of Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Mesão Frio, Murça, Peso da Régua, Sabrosa, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Torre de Moncorvo and Vila Real.

The EIB will support the company’s rehabilitation of water supply systems to reduce water losses as well as the upgrading and rationalisation of wastewater collection and treatment systems to comply with EU and regional environmental requirements. Overall, the EIB investment backed by EFSI will help to reduce pollution by improving the quality of the effluents that are discharged into the region’s surface water and it will contribute to increased resilience against climate-related risks.

The project is aligned to the Portuguese Government’s reform of the water sector, the PENSAAR 2020 programme. Adopted in 2015, the plan calls for reorganisation of this sector, notably through the aggregation of operators at municipal level, with the aim of increasing the efficiency of services while ensuring greater territorial cohesion in terms of access, quality and pricing of services.

EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, responsible for the Bank’s operations in Portugal, said: “As the largest international lender to the water sector in Portugal, we are delighted to back AdIN’s investment programme to improve the provision of basic public services such as clean water supply and effective wastewater for citizens in the north of Portugal. This operation highlights the success of the Investment Plan for Europe and reinforces the EIB’s long-standing support to the country’s water sector.

Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni said: “This agreement between the EIB and Águas do Interior Norte, backed by the Investment Plan for Europe, will help to improve water supply and waste management services for the benefit of about 95 000 people in the north of Portugal. This is an important contribution from the European Union to safeguard Portugal’s water resources, which is especially important in the context of increasing climate-related risks.”

“Contracting this loan with the EIB constitutes an important step towards achieving the objectives that inspired the incorporation of the company. The current condition of the water supply and wastewater sanitation systems requires substantial investment, impossible to achieve exclusively with self-financing and community co-financing resources. The amounts involved, repayment terms and interest rates provided by the EIB cannot be compared with those offered by the market. The numerous benefits to the company resulting from this loan will be reflected in the long-term protection of the environment, the quality of service provided to users and the evolution of the tariffs to be applied”, said Carlos Silva, Chairman of AdIN’s Board of Directors.

Águas do Interior – Norte, EIM, SA (“AdIN”) was incorporated on 15 November 2019 pursuant to Law 50/2012 of 31 August (legal framework of the business activity of municipalities) as a local authority company by the Municipalities of Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Mesão Frio, Murça, Peso da Régua, Sabrosa, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Torre de Moncorvo and Vila Real. AdIN’s activities comprise the management of municipal water supply and wastewater management services in the aforementioned municipalities.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina: EIB provides €40 million for improving the urban transport network in the Canton of Sarajevo

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  • The first EIB financing for sustainable mobility in the Western Balkans
  • €40 million for more efficient, cleaner and safer transportation in Sarajevo
  • The EIB has provided financing of €1.6 billion to build better roads in Bosnia and Herzegovina

To support the transition to more sustainable transport modes, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing €40 million for the reconstruction of the urban transport network in the Canton of Sarajevo. The financing, provided on the most favourable terms, will enable modernisation and extension of the tram and trolley bus networks by replacing existing vehicles and building new tramlines and tracks. These improvements will significantly increase safety and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the surrounding municipalities.

The establishment of a more efficient and reliable public transit system is expected to enable a shift of passengers from private to public transport modes. As a result, it will help to reduce commute times, greenhouse gas emissions, noise levels and the number of traffic accidents in the Canton of Sarajevo. The project will contribute to the fulfilment of the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans and the EIB’s climate action goals for the region relating to sustainable transport.

The EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, Lilyana Pavlova, said: “The COVID-19 crisis imposed a new priority for us as the EU bank – to ensure that the recovery for the pandemic is green. Sustainable mobility is a key step in that direction and we are glad that we have signed the financing for this important investment for the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project will contribute to the fulfilment of the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans and to the development of cleaner, modern and efficient transportation infrastructure across the region, for the benefit of its people and the environment alike.”

The Minister of Finance and Treasury of BiH, Vjekoslav Bevanda, stated that yet another important contract has been signed for the project aimed at improving the quality of life for citizens in the Canton of Sarajevo and contributing to environmental protection. “It is very well known that Sarajevo suffers from many problems with urban transport and traffic jams, but also with air pollution, which is the result of all these issues. This is one among very few projects that will help in overcoming these difficulties. Therefore, we are grateful to the representatives of the EIB for supporting such a high-quality and important project for the people of Sarajevo, but also for all those who come to visit the city”, said Minister Bevanda.

The Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH, Ambassador Johann Sattler, said: “Urban mobility and sustainable, green public transportation are high on the agenda of the European Union. This project will support a shift to more environmentally-friendly public transportation and provide citizens with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives in Sarajevo. As such, it is also contributing to the collective effort to reduce air pollution, a major threat to climate and citizens’ health.”

To date, the EIB has invested €1.6 billion in the modernisation of transport infrastructure in Bosnia and Herzegovina, contributing to better connectivity of the country with the region and the European Union. The majority of these funds were allocated to Corridor Vc, which is one of the most important regional investments for the EIB.

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France : Plan d’investissement – la BEI cofinance la construction du parc éolien en mer du Calvados à hauteur de 350 millions d’euros

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  • EIB acts as major partner in French renewable energy project implemented and operated by the EDF Renouvelables, Enbridge and wpd consortium.
  • Comprising 64 wind turbines located 10 to 16 km off the coast of Calvados, the wind farm will have a capacity of 450 MW.
  • Investment guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a €350 million credit line to a consortium made up of EDF Renouvelables, Enbridge and wpd to co-finance the construction of a wind farm off the coast of Courseulles-sur-Mer in France. This financing will be guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Totalling an estimated €2 billion, the project involves the construction of 64 wind turbines located over 10 km off the French coast. With a capacity of 450 MW, it will produce the equivalent of the annual electricity use of 630 000 people, i.e. over 90% of the population of Calvados. It is expected to enter service in 2024.

Construction is expected to last three and a half years and will create over 1 000 direct jobs in Normandy, particularly in Le Havre where the wind turbines will be manufactured and assembled in a Siemens Gemesa factory currently being built. During the life of the wind farm, the project will enable the creation of around 100 long-term jobs at the port of Caen-Ouistreham for maintenance operations.

The EU bank has recognised expertise in financing offshore wind farms. In 2020, the EIB co-financed France’s largest offshore wind farm project off the coast of Fécamp (also in Normandy) in a consortium of the same organisations. This financing is also guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

The European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “The Investment Plan for Europe is backing the construction of a new wind park in the west of France. The project will provide clean energy to some 630 000 people and create over 1 000 jobs in the process. This is another step towards achieving our goal of climate neutrality by 2050 and showcases the economic potential of going green.”

This second financing of an offshore wind farm in Normandy, France confirms that our transformation into the EU climate bank is picking up speed,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “This operation consolidates our expertise in fixed and floating offshore wind turbines, like other innovative projects that we are financing elsewhere in Europe.” 

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Germany: EIB provides €50 million in risk financing to Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2

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  • Transaction is strong signal for the German venture capital market
  • The EU bank is providing risk financing under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide up to €50 million in risk financing to Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2 (WBF2), a venture capital fund set up on the initiative of the Free State of Bavaria. WBF2 is run by fund manager Bayern Kapital GmbH. Its target size is €165 million, with LfA Förderbank Bayern (“LfA”) having already committed to an investment of up to €115 million. The transaction is the first EFSI-backed project in Germany with a regional promotional bank and will provide another strong signal to the German venture capital market as Germany’s VC investments are still below the EU average.

The EU bank is providing this EFSI-backed risk financing as part of the Investment Plan for Europe. EFSI is the central pillar of the Investment Plan under which the EIB and the European Commission are working closely as strategic partners to boost investment and create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The EIB financing, supported by EFSI, will have a significant impact as it provides financial support and flexibility to Bavaria’s innovative start-ups in, for example, robotics, digitisation, industrial manufacturing processes, artificial intelligence or life science, enabling them to maintain their early-mover advantage, scale up their business and continue their expansion.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, in charge of the EU bank’s activities in Germany, emphasised: “I very much welcome the cooperation with LfA Förderbank Bayern to set up WBF2. Highly innovative start-ups are recognised as key sources of employment, productivity growth and sustainable jobs. For the EIB, with the backing of the Investment Plan for Europe, supporting investment that is aimed towards greater competitiveness is a top priority. This counts even more in the current difficult economic environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Hubert Aiwanger, Bavarian State Minister for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, welcomes the EIB’s entry into WFB2: “The €50 million from the EIB will make WFB2 even more effective. This means that even more Bavarian start-ups will receive reliable support for large-volume financing rounds and will be able to press ahead with their internationalisation strategies, the opening up of new markets, as well as approval studies and the further development or diversification of their own product ranges. Expansion financing for high-tech companies ultimately benefits the entire European business space. Many innovative business models are created in various industries of the future, thus also generating a large number of new, future-proof jobs.”

Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “I am glad to see the support from the European Fund for Strategic Investments for Bavaria’s Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2, a venture capital fund that will help finance innovative German start-ups in fields like robotics, digitisation, industrial manufacturing, artificial intelligence or life sciences to grow their operations and maintain their competitive edge. Start-ups and innovations remain central to Europe’s future prosperity and a key source of new jobs.”

Technology-focused start-ups located across Bavaria work on innovative business models day in, day out,” said Dr Otto Beierl, the Chairman of the Management Board at LfA Förderbank Bayern. “One of the biggest hurdles such companies face is the capital-intensive financing that is needed during the growth phase, the period when companies work to increase the market penetration of their products and expand their market position. Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2, a fund that always acts as a co-investment partner, plays a key role in lining up private investors alongside public sector capital in the financing of start-ups. For this reason, we are really pleased about the European Investment Bank’s decision to mobilise additional capital for innovations ‘made in Bavaria’ by offering this important pillar of financing.”

Background information

About LfA

LfA Förderbank Bayern, founded in 1951, is the specialist promotional bank of the Free State of Bavaria. Its mandate is to use the instruments of a bank to provide financial support for the projects of commercial companies and professions in almost all branches of industry and for other measures designed to improve Bavaria’s economic, transport, energy and environmental structure.

About Bayern Kapital GmbH

Bayern Kapital GmbH, based in Landshut, was founded on the initiative of the Bavarian government in 1995. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bavarian LfA Förderbank . As the venture capital organisation of Bavaria, Bayern Kapital provides equity capital financing for the founders of young innovative technology companies in Bavaria. Presently Bayern Kapital manages 12 investment funds with a total volume of around €500 million. So far, it has invested roughly €350 million in about 290 innovative companies in various technology sectors including life science, software & IT, medical technology, materials and new materials, nanotechnology and environmental technology. As a result, more than 8 000 long-term jobs in sustainable companies have been created in Bavaria.

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Long-term investment support needed to boost green and digital transformation of the Czech Republic says the latest EIB Investment Survey

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  • The European Investment Bank and the Czech Banking Association hosted a virtual conference entitled “Investment and investment finance in the Czech Republic” today.
  • The EIB presented the results of its latest annual EIB Investment Report and Survey (EIBIS) for Europe and the specific results for the Czech Republic, providing insights on investment dynamics and investment needs.
  • After the first wave of COVID-19, half of Czech firms already planned to reduce their investment due to the pandemic. However, firms know they need to invest more to counter the impact of the pandemic.
  • Just over half of Czech firms have invested or are planning to invest to tackle the impact of climate change on their business.

As part of a series of events organised to discuss current investment trends in different EU Member States, the Czech Banking Association and the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic and the Institute for Democracy & Economic Analysis (IDEA), hosted the webinar “Investment and investment finance in the Czech Republic”. It focused on investment needs and priorities for the Czech Republic in the era of COVID-19, digitalisation and climate change.

During the webinar, EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova gave an overview of the EIB’s activities in the Czech Republic and EIB Head of Economic Studies Pedro de Lima presented the results of the 2020 EIB Investment Survey for the Czech Republic.

The survey highlighted that in the long term, COVID-19 will likely give rise to further investment needs in the Czech Republic, notably in the areas of service or product portfolio and the supply chain.

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova said: “While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted investment in Czechia, the EIB, as the EU climate bank, is dedicated to helping the country through a digital and green recovery of the economy. Over the past five years, we have provided on average €900 million per year in new lending to the Czech public and private sectors and will continue to act as a key partner in the country.”

EIB Head of Economic Studies Pedro de Lima added: “About half of Czech firms planned to cut their investment spending and a third expect the pandemic to have lasting effects. This calls for patient long-term investment support – to accelerate the recovery, safeguard jobs and adapt to the challenges of the green and digital transformation.”

Zdenek Tůma, Member of the Czech Banking Association Presidium, and Chairman of the CSOB Supervisory Board, said: “Czech banks’ collaboration with the EIB Group is long lasting, professional and mutually advantageous. It brings benefits to final recipients not only through competitive interest rates but, in the case of the European Investment Fund´s guarantees, it also helps banks to finance innovative SMEs that would otherwise be commercially risky as borrowers. And it not only helps new companies to enter markets, it supports them in administratively friendly way, and it allows to share with them the benefits of a pan-European triple A creditor’s funding.”

Helena Horska, Chief Economist of the Raiffeisen Bank, said: “The Czech Republic’s investment gap is roughly €22 billion for 2020-2023. Without stimulating private investment, we will not be able to close it. And investment needs to be smart to lay the foundations of growth.”

The webinar was attended by business leaders, economists, policymakers and representatives from financial institutions and public sector partners, including Jan Dejl, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Daniel Münich, Executive Director of the Institute for Democracy & Economic Analysis (IDEA) at CERGE-EI, Jitka Haubová, COO of Komercni Banka, Jan Švejnar, Professor of Global Political Economy at Columbia University and Adviser to the Czech Government, and Tomáš Kolář, CEO of Linet.

The EIB Investment Survey provides a clear picture of the challenges for firms in the EU. In addition to well-known investment barriers, such as skills shortages and aspects of the regulatory environment, firms need to deal with climate change and with the consequences of COVID-19. This translates into increased investment in innovation and digital technologies, and a rethink of the businesses’ global value chains.

This is also true for firms in the Czech Republic. Over the coming years, most Czech firms intend to prioritise the development or the introduction of new products and services over capacity expansion and replacement. Just over half of firms have invested or are planning to invest to tackle the impact of climate change on their business. On average, firms dedicated about 10% of their investment spending to energy efficiency, similar to those in the rest of the EU.

Read the EIB Investment Survey 2020 EIBIS 2020 – Czech Republic overview

Presentations from the seminar available on the post-event website.

About the EIBIS

The annual EIB Group Survey on Investment and Investment Finance (EIBIS) is an EU-wide survey that gathers qualitative and quantitative information on firms’ investment activities, their financing requirements and the difficulties they face. The survey was developed by our Economics Department and provides a unique set of data. It is the only survey that makes it possible to compare investment across countries and sectors in the EU. The survey collects data from approximately 13 300 businesses in total, across the EU27, the United Kingdom and, since 2019, the United States.

More information on The EIB Investment Survey – 2020 EU overview

About the European Investment Bank

The EIB has worked with the Czech Republic since 1992 and invested in infrastructure, small businesses, environment and innovation. Since its start of operations in Czech Republic, the EIB has provided €23.23 billion of financing to 192 projects.

About the Czech Banking Association

The Czech Banking Association is a voluntary association of banks and building societies operating on the Czech market representing more than 99% of the Czech banking sector. The Czech Banking Association has been supporting the development of the Czech banking sector, the entire economy, and the financial literacy of Czechs since 1990.

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Brazil: EIB and BRDE support SMEs impacted by COVID-19

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  • The European Investment Bank will provide support for COVID-19 impacted SMEs in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, in Brazil
  • The new agreement will widen the eligibility criteria of the current EUR 80m BRDE CLIMATE ACTION Framework Loan to support and accelerate lending to private sector business
  • The loan is part of the Team Europe response to COVID 19
  • Part of the Framework Loan will fund urban projects, supported by FELICITY, implemented in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Banco Regional de Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul (BRDE) announced targeted finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the States of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná in Brazil, facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new agreement is an amendment to a contract signed in 2018, allowing both institutions to provide flexibility and to widen the eligibility criteria of the current EUR 80m BRDE CLIMATE ACTION Framework Loan, in order to support and accelerate lending to private sector business, at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis in Latin America, especially in Brazil. This flexibility will accelerate access to finance for SMEs and in particular micro-enterprises in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, to the tune of EUR 15m.

The EIB and BRDE are partnering to support a series of climate action projects in Brazil, including solar PV, small-scale hydropower and other renewable sources. In the COVID-19 context, the partnership has been adapted to help respond to specific needs of SMEs in this new challenging situation, by allowing faster loan disbursements to businesses.

As part of the BRDE CLIMATE ACTION Framework Loan, up to EUR 30m will fund urban projects, supported by FELICITY. FELICITY is a project preparation facility funded by the German International Climate Initiative (IKI), implemented in cooperation with GIZ.  FELICITY helps project promoters in cities to provide feasibility studies and other preparatory and capacity building measures to BRDE.  

EIB Vice-President, Ricardo Mourinho Félix responsible for Latin America said: “Fostering entrepreneurship is crucial for sustainable growth, in particular during these challenging times. We are pleased to announce this amendment agreement with BRDE to provide additional financial support to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in Brazil. This COVID-19 finance aims at accelerating the uptake and deployment of funds by BRDE to Brazilian businesses. In collaboration with Team Europe, the agreement highlights our priorities in Latin America, helping to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth by boosting productive investment.”

CEO of BRDE, Leany Lemos, confirmed that the agreement with the EIB was the result of a great effort by both institutions and comes at a crucial moment for micro and small entrepreneurs. “The current stage of the pandemic ended up accentuating the difficulties that many activities have been faced with for a year. Supporting during this journey means the survival of many small businesses, but above all it means maintaining jobs and income, and a better perspective at the time of recovery”, she stressed.

EU Ambassador to Brazil, Ambassador Ignacio Ybáñez Rubio, said: “Supporting private sector companies, especially SMEs as main drivers for jobs creation, is a major objective within the EU and its Member States. It is also an important part of its cooperation agenda with partner countries. Within the current pandemic context, it is even more important to align efforts to assure a sustainable recovery of businesses and reduce as much as possible the implicit negative socio-economic consequences derived from a slowdown of economic activity. We are proud to confirm that we have supported the establishment of this facility from the beginning, as this action forms part of the EIB’s External Lending Mandate that includes a guarantee from the EU. We applaud the conclusion of this agreement that, besides the original contract’s purpose of giving priority to climate action, which is in line with the current EU Green Deal approach, it also brings the possibility to use up to EUR 15 million of the approved loan to provide support for COVID-19 impacted SMEs in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná in the Southern part of Brazil.”

EIB and Team Europe global response to COVID-19

The proposed emergency financing is part of the policy and operational response of the EIB, in close cooperation with the European Commission (EC), to the COVID-19 epidemic breakout outside the EU. It is part of the EIB contribution to the Team Europe response to the COVID-19 crisis.

EU guarantee and the SDGs

The EU bank is providing this finance, which will cover up to 75% of the final project investment cost, in the framework of the 2014-2020 external lending mandate for Latin America. This agreement is therefore covered by the EU guarantee. By supporting this project, the EIB is contributing to achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy while fighting climate change.

The EIB and FELICITY

The first three projects supported by FELICITY in Brazil have an investment volume of around R$ 140 million (EUR 20m equivalent) in climate finance. In addition, there is a potential to reduce emissions of up to 257 Mt CO2 in 15 years. In addition, the training courses have reached about 500 professionals in the preparation, financing and implementation of low carbon infrastructure projects in cities.

Beyond Brazil, EIB and GIZ cooperate via FELICITY also in Mexico and Ecuador to develop urban waste management and wastewater projects.

The EIB in Latin America

The EIB, the Bank of the European Union, is the largest international financial institution in the world and approximately 10% of its lending and financing target is to the benefit of partners outside of the European Union. As the EU bank, the EIB supports the EU’s relationship with Latin America by financing projects that contribute to the EU’s external policy objectives: the development of economic, environmental and social infrastructure; private sector development; and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

In Latin America, the EIB has become a major promoter of renewable energy and energy efficiency, having signed projects worth over EUR 880m in the region between 2013 and 2018. Climate change mitigation and adaptation is the EIB’s main priority in the region, where projects supported by the EU bank focus on the environment, and especially on boosting renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable public transport schemes. Climate change adaptation-related projects involve upgrading existing infrastructure to be more resilient in the face of more volatile and unpredictable weather patterns, preparing it for direct and indirect impacts.

The EIB provides economic support for projects in Latin America by facilitating long-term investment with favourable conditions and by providing the technical support needed to ensure that these projects deliver positive social, economic and environmental results. Since the EIB began operating in Latin America in 1993, it has provided total financing of EUR 10.4bn to support 140 projects in 14 countries in the region.