A meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the Maltese capital of Valetta has ended with agreement to fund €7.3bn ($7.9bn) of projects across Europe and the Ukraine.
Of these, $3.1bn will be under the rubric of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, a joint initiative launched by the bank and the European Commission to overcome "the current investment gap in the EU". Some 18 projects will be funded with this money.
The fund is one of the three pillars of the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe that aims to unlock $353bn of investment from private sources. Most of the investment is not within the construction sector: so far 22% has been in energy, 6% in transport and 3% in social infrastructure; most of the remainder has been in research and development and help for smaller companies.
The remainder of the spending is aimed at construction projects with a strategic value to the EU. Some $2.5bn will be used to upgrade road links in Lithuania and Poland, buy passenger trains for use in the UK, Belgium, Germany and the Ukraine, and build schools across Ireland.
Funding of $1.5bn will go towards wind farms in Belgium and Greece, small hydropower plants in Italy and the construction of zero energy buildings in Finland.
The EIB also plans to invest $16.8bn in North Africa, the Middle East and western Balkans by 2020, bringing the total investment in these regions to $39.3bn.
Negotiations for all approved loans are expected to be finalised in the coming months and will need to be approved by the EIB Board.
View a list of recently approved EIB projects here.