Today the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced that it has approved financing for four investment projects as part of the Investment Plan for Europe, in which it is the Commission's strategic partner. These projects are in energy efficiency investment to reduce heating bills of private homes in France; new renewable energy and related transmission links in links in northern and western Europe; reduction of industrial energy use in Finland; and improvement to gas transmission in Spain.
Today's decision follows the EIB's announcement on 22 April of the first projects to receive pre-financing, and it is in line with the European Council conclusions of December 2014 which invited the EIB Group to "start activities by using its own funds as of January 2015". The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is at the heart of the Investment Plan, should be up and running by September 2015, pending the successful conclusion of negotiations between the co-legislators. Negotiations continue this week and the Commission continues to play its role as honest compromise broker. This EIB pre-financing is without prejudice to being eligible for EFSI-financing, the exact criteria for which are still being negotiated by the co-legislators.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "With negotations between the European Parliament and Member States on the Regulation for the EFSI making good progress, I am happy that the EIB is honouring its commitment to pre-finance projects even before the EFSI is up and running. I am of course very pleased that one of these projects is in my home country, Finland."
European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for the Energy Union said: “The Investment Plan for Europe and the Energy Union are a winning team: there are plenty of economically-viable projects in infrastructure, renewables, energy efficiency, research, innovation and transport. Today's decision of the EIB also shows that Energy Efficiency First is a principle worth investing in.”
European Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, responsible for Climate Action and Energy said: “Today’s decision is very good news as it shows that the EIB is ready to make the energy sector one of the key beneficiaries of the Investment Plan for Europe. It is very encouraging especially that with two of these operations the Bank successfully tests mechanisms for financing energy efficiency and innovative energy technologies.”
For more information on the EIB's announcement, please see the EIB's press release and contact the EIB.