The Board of Governors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in its annual meeting on Tuesday agreed to focus lending activity in 2010 on those projects that are likely to have greatest impact on economic recovery and jobs. Larger EU corporations are experiencing an improvement in their access to capital markets and funding and are not expected to make as much use of EIB finance as they did in 2009.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to finance however remains difficult and will remain a priority for the EIB in 2010. EIB Governors also encouraged the Bank to continue its policy of meeting market gaps by increasing the ceiling for Special Activities,from EUR 6.35 billion achieved in 2009 to EUR 8 billion. The overall lending target for 2010 was set at EUR 66 billion.
"With a lending target of 66 billion euro, the EIB is on track to achieve the additional EUR 50 billion economic support package it pledged to deliver in 2009 and 2010," said EIB President Philippe Maystadt.
The EIB has already delivered more than EUR 20 billion of the EUR 30 billion in extra loans to small and medium sized companies that it agreed to provide over 2008-2011 within the context of the European Economic Recovery Plan.
In his remarks to the Board, President Maystadt also highlighted the EIB's role in contributing to the post-Copenhagen climate action financing agenda. "Adoption of the Commission's proposal for an extra EUR 2 billion of EIB finance for climate action projects outside the EU would represent an important step towards meeting the Copenhagen commitments," he said.
"Establishing a platform that would allow the EIB, the Commission, Member States and other European financial institutions to combine grants with loans for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects is a proposal that we have put forward to make concrete progress in the fight against climate change."
The EIB Board of Governors is composed of the Finance ministers from the 27 European Union Member States, who agreed separately on Tuesday on a general approach to the revision of the EIB's external lending mandate, pending full agreement with the European Parliament.