LUXEMBOURG, 13th April, 2016 (WAM) – The Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank has approved EUR 5.12 billion of new loans for thirty-one projects across Europe and around the world, including EUR 655 million of new lending backed by the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

The EIB also approved lending for business investment outside Europe. This includes microfinance lending in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, to foster employment-generating activities and working with specialist partners in West and Central Africa and leading banks in Turkey to improve access to finance by small business. The EIB also agreed to support a project to improve agricultural storage in Malawi, recognising the crucial importance of reducing unnecessary loss of agricultural produce.

The approved loans are expected to be signed in the coming months. They include the strategic infrastructure in Italy, Poland and Finland, transport projects at the Port of Dover in the United Kingdom, Innsbruck in Austria and the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, and renewable energy off the Belgian coast, the EIB said in a press release .

“Less than a year since the EIB Group approved its first operation backed by the EU budget guarantee, the Investment Plan for Europe is mobilising new investment of over EUR 82 billion in 25 EU countries. This is over a quarter of the EUR 315 billion target. The fastest progress has taken place in the area of small business investment, which is crucial to create jobs, help businesses grasp new opportunities and expand, and for firms to improve competitiveness in global markets. Over the last 5 years, the European Investment Bank Group has provided nearly EUR 130 billion for small business investment. Today the EU Bank again demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that lending by local banks across Europe and beyond strengthens local companies”, said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

More than half of the new lending approved by the EIB board, EUR 2.7 billion, will improve access to finance by small business across Europe, including in Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom.