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#EIB approves €4.4 billion for small businesses, social housing, transport and energy investment

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Meeting in Luxembourg, the Board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a total of 4.4 billion of new financing for 30 projects located across Europe, Asia and Africa.  This includes financing to roll-out ultra-high speed internet across Germany, upgrade the Cairo metro, expand and rehabilitate forests in China, and improve access to off-grid solar power in Africa.

“The EU Bank is now moving on from crisis recovery to focusing on investments that can make Europe more competitive worldwide. This also involves making growth more sustainable and smart. Financing gaps still hold back investment in climate action and in the key product-to-market segment of the value chain. We want to enable companies to run with all the good ideas Europe has in abundance, to create jobs and expand. New projects endorsed today by the EU Bank will contribute to address these gaps. They also take us very close to achieving the Juncker Plan target of mobilising investments worth 315bn by this year,” said EIB President Werner Hoyer.

Improving access to finance by small business

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The board meeting approved 1.4bn of new intermediated lending that will help small and medium size companies in Austria, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Armenia and Montenegro to create jobs and harness new business opportunities.  The Board also approved new targeted lending programmes to support sustainable and high social impact investment, cut carbon emissions, improve agricultural production and stimulate rural investment, with partners in the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic.

Reflecting the investment gap of early stage companies in Africa and specific economic challenges in southern Mediterranean countries, the EIB approved support for a new venture capital fund operating across the continent and a new private sector development programme intended to strengthen long-term economic resilience.

Enhancing provision of social housing 

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Households across Europe face the daily reality of a lack of affordable and available housing.  The EIB Board decided to support 538 million for social housing investment in Spain and Sweden that will build new homes and contribute to expansion of near zero energy residential buildings.

Strengthening sustainable transport in world cities

The EIB Board approved investment to upgrade line 1 of the Cairo Metro and extend the Manchester Metrolink network.

Helping industry to innovate and cut energy use 

350m loans to companies across Europe will help cut energy use in hotels and industrial laundry facilities in Spain and retail centres in Poland; enable use of the latest technology in a new manufacturing plant in Latvia; and develop more efficient lighting technology in Austria, Germany, France and the UK.

Harnessing renewable energy and improving access to electricity 

The board meeting approved 276m of new financing for energy investment. This includes PPP financing for the Northwester 2 windfarm project in Belgium and for the Olsztyn Waste to Energy Plant in Poland. The EIB will also support a new electricity inter-connector between the Greek mainland and the island of Crete, which will strengthen security of energy supply in the country.  Reflecting the chronic lack of access to electricity in large parts of Africa, the EIB will also launch a new programme to finance off-grid solar power providers across Africa, which currently have no access to commercial financing.

European Commission

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €231 million in pre-financing to Slovenia

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The European Commission has disbursed €231 million to Slovenia in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's grant allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €2.5 billion in total, consisting of €1.8bn in grants and €705m in loans, over the lifetime of its plan. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80 billion in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU.

The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will provide €800bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states. The Slovenian plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Cyprus

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus

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The European Commission has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €1.2 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan, with €1 billion provided in grants and €200m in loans. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states.

The Cypriot plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Belgium

EU Cohesion policy: Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy receive €373 million to support health and social services, SMEs and social inclusion

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The Commission has granted €373 million to five European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) operational programmes (OPs) in Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy to help the countries with coronavirus emergency response and repair in the framework of REACT-EU. In Belgium, the modification of the Wallonia OP will make available an additional €64.8m for the acquisition of medical equipment for health services and innovation.

The funds will support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in developing e-commerce, cybersecurity, websites and online stores, as well as the regional green economy through energy efficiency, protection of the environment, development of smart cities and low-carbon public infrastructures. In Germany, in the Federal State of Hessen, €55.4m will support health-related research infrastructure, diagnostic capacity and innovation in universities and other research institutions as well as research, development and innovation investments in the fields of climate and sustainable development. This amendment will also provide support to SMEs and funds for start-ups through an investment fund.

In Sachsen-Anhalt, €75.7m will facilitate cooperation of SMEs and institutions in research, development and innovation, and provide investments and working capital for micro-enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis. Moreover, the funds will allow investments in the energy efficiency of enterprises, support digital innovation in SMEs and acquiring digital equipment for schools and cultural institutions. In Italy, the national OP ‘Social Inclusion' will receive €90m to promote the social integration of people experiencing severe material deprivation, homelessness or extreme marginalisation, through ‘Housing First' services that combine the provision of immediate housing with enabling social and employment services.

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In Spain, €87m will be added to the ESF OP for Castilla y León to support the self-employed and workers who had their contracts suspended or reduced due to the crisis. The money will also help hard-hit companies avoid layoffs, especially in the tourism sector. Finally, the funds are needed to allow essential social services to continue in a safe way and to ensure educational continuity throughout the pandemic by hiring additional staff.

REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6bn additional funding (in current prices) to Cohesion policy programmes over the course of 2021 and 2022. Measures focus on supporting labour market resilience, jobs, SMEs and low-income families, as well as setting future-proof foundations for the green and digital transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery.

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