The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) signed a record amount in new financing for renewables, efficiency, storage and grids in 2022, highlighting the EU bank’s unwavering commitment to ensure access to affordable energy at a time of extreme uncertainty. Total EIB financing signed for sustainable energy projects inside the European Union reached an unprecedented €17.06bn, as the Bank began rolling out a special package of support for the REPowerEU plan to end dependency on Russian fuel imports.
Overall EIB Group (European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund) financing signed last year was €72.5bn , which is expected to support around €260bn in investment and create 950 000 jobs by 2026. Almost half of EIB lending in the European Union (46%) was signed for projects in cohesion regions, underlying the Bank’s support for equitable growth and convergence across the European Union.
“We delivered on our promises, we exceeded our targets, we put our money where our mouth is,” EIB President Werner Hoyer said at the release of the Group’s annual results in Brussels. “The EU bank is deploying the full scale of its financial firepower to cushion the economic fallout from Putin’s unjustified aggression and lay the foundations for a sustainable recovery.”
The EIB offered immediate relief to Ukraine right after the outbreak of the war, disbursing €1.7 billion in funds last year to help finance emergency repairs to the country’s infrastructure ravaged by Russian bombing. The Bank remains committed to stepping up its activities in Ukraine, in line with the mandate given by EU leaders, and in close cooperation with the European Commission, the European Parliament and international partners.
In addition to its support for Ukraine, EIB Global signed €9.1bn in new financing in 2022, bringing the total operations of the EIB arm for global partnerships launched a year ago to €10.8bn.
Green financing from the EIB increased substantially again to €36.5bn (58% of the total), meaning that the Bank met its commitment to devote at least half of its resources to climate action and environmental sustainability, well ahead of its 2025 target. Overall, the EIB Group is well on track to achieve its objective of supporting €1trn in green financing this decade, having already backed €222bn in investment over the past two years.
“At a time when the United States is rolling out the biggest green subsidy programme in history, it is imperative that Europe keeps up and stays the course, both for the sake of our planet and for safeguarding the competitiveness of our economies,” President Hoyer said. “The EU bank will do its part to finance home-grown innovation that will lead us to net zero.”
In 2022, the EIF committed more than €9bn to small businesses and climate and infrastructure projects, which is expected to mobilise around €97bn in investment to support an inclusive transition to climate neutrality, the digital transformation of European industries and the competitiveness of EU entrepreneurs. Around one-third of the amount signed targeted the areas of sustainability and green transformation, while 27% was invested in smaller businesses active in the fields of innovation and digitalisation.
Amid a challenging economic outlook for 2023, the EIF plans to press ahead with the deployment of the multi-thematic InvestEU programme and supplement it with new plans, like the European Tech Champions Initiative, which is expected to be launched in the coming weeks to support home-grown innovation. Crucially, EIF equity investments in green industries will support the REPowerEU plan to eliminate dependence on fossil fuel imports.
“Building on the work already done, the EIF will remain operationally sharp and agile, adapting to a changing world around us, and striving to channel public resources effectively to where they are needed most,” said EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt. “We will continue to support European small businesses while also growing our activity in sustainability-oriented finance solutions such as climate and infrastructure funds.”
In response to pandemic fallout, the EIB Group set out to quickly make as much financing as possible available for European businesses when the pandemic struck. With the support of 22 Member States, the EIB Group founded the European Guarantee Fund (EGF) which, in about two years of activity, signed €20.9bn (out of €24.4bn available) in loans, guarantees, equity and quasi-equity financing. The funds would enable businesses, in particular small and medium businesses, to withstand — and grow their way out of — the pandemic. All financing signed under the EGF is expected to mobilise €183.5bn in investment for European economies.