European finance ministers highlighted the importance of the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) to supporting economic growth, job creation and stimulating recovery across Europe. The ministers, meeting as the Governors of the European Investment Bank, welcomed the first lending by Europe’s long-term lending institution under the initiative and noted the EIB’s clear commitment to EFSI demonstrated since it was first conceived.
Use of the EFSI guarantee, if ratified by the European Parliament, is expected to allow the EIB Group to support additional investment in infrastructure, innovation, and improve access to finance for SMEs alongside other sources of finance. The new initiative is expected to mobilise EUR 315 billion of new investment, mostly from the private sector, over three years.
“The EU Bank started rolling out the Investment Plan for Europe in April, four months after President Juncker and I launched the initiative before the European Parliament. (…) Once again the EIB delivered: in the past three months we have approved support for 10 projects which should benefit from the EU guarantee once EFSI is operational” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
Ministers further welcomed that the first projects already earmarked for support under EFSI had exceeded expectations about the new initiative’s ability to encourage increased private investment.
The meeting took place a day after the European Investment Bank’s Board of Directors agreed more than EUR 10 billion of EIB financing for new projects, including social housing, industrial innovation, urban transport and energy security projects.