The President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Werner Hoyer, and EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco met with Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan at the margin of EIBīs Board of Directors meeting in Rome in order to discuss priorities and joint initiatives for the upcoming Italian EU Presidency. Both sides agreed to cooperate closely in order to tackle unemployment in Europe. They also emphasised that Europe needs modern and efficient infrastructure to support growth and strengthen its competitiveness.
President Hoyer stated: The EIB Group, in close cooperation with the Italian Presidency, will keep up its momentum in investing in modern infrastructure in Europe. This is vital for the future of our continent, given the global competition. Loans worth up to EUR 2.9 billion were approved for infrastructure projects, including the upgrade and extension of the Scotia Gas Network s gas distribution (up to EUR 468 million) and up to EUR 213 million for the modernisation of the Rail Baltica line from Warsaw to the Lithuanian border.
Regarding other key priorities of the bank, loans worth up to EUR 730 million will go to the area of research, development and innovation, for example up to EUR 500 million for an investment programme in advanced broadband services in Denmark. Projects in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency will be supported with loans worth up to EUR 590 million, one of them for hydroelectric power generation in Austria (up to EUR 280 million).
Moreover, up to EUR 600 million have been approved for integrated urban renewal and development schemes focusing on social housing and energy resource efficiency in the UK, as well as a loan worth up to EUR 349 million for the construction of 46 new schools in the UK.
The EIB also continues its strong support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and mid-cap companies across the European Union to boost growth and employment in Europe. The EIB s Board of Directors approved loans up to EUR 1.8 billion for the benefit of European SMEs and mid-caps. This brings total EIB support for SMEs and mid-cap companies so far in 2014 to EUR 10.9 billion. Up to EUR 700 million were approved today for projects in SME and mid-cap investments primarily in the Netherlands, up to EUR 450 million for Portugal and up to EUR 383 for Italy.
The Board of Directors of the European Investment Fund (EIF) approved 22 new operations on 3 June through which the EIF will further reinforce its support for SMEs. These deals represent EIF commitments of EUR 518 million and are expected to leverage EUR 2.69 billion of capital. With these new approvals, the number of deals approved in 2014 now amounts to 56, with commitments in the order of EUR 1.46 billion and an expected overall leverage of EUR 7.2 billion.