Andrew McDowell, the Vice President of the European Investment Bank, provided information about EIB’s activities in 2019, both in Romania and across the EU, during a joint press conference with the National Bank of Romania held Thursday at the NBR Headquarters.
“I am happy to report a strong and positive relationship between the EIB and Romania, and we are looking to the future in terms of how the EIB can support the ambitions and development plans of Romania.” The Vice President started his speech.
McDowell went on to review the bank’s activities in 2019 across the EU, reporting on several benchmarks: EUR 72 billion in new commitments in EU and non-EU partner countries, EIB financing improving healthcare services for about 12 million people across Europe, 30,000 km of new powerlines built, and 630 million additional trips each year across various modes of public transport.
“Of course, it’s not all about volumes, it’s about impact, our financing supported over 400,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Our financing also supported the expansion of energy production by about 13,000 mW. To put that into context by the way, that’s more than the energy capacity of Bulgaria. 2019 was positive overall for the EIB, and our investments made a positive impact.” Andrew McDowell added.
Regarding the fight against global warming, McDowell stated that the EIB will become the new financial arm of the European Green Deal
“2019 also meant a new partnership with the European Commission, in order to fight global warming. The bank has committed to be the financial arm of the new European Green Deal, with its stated ambition to make Europe the first zero green gas emissions continent. This ambition will require huge amounts of investments. Effectively, Europe will need to replace much of its power systems, its transport systems, much of its industrial equipment and modernize much of its buildings.”
Aligning with the Paris agreement and what this means for Romania and other CEE countries
“We also agreed that all of our financings from the end of this year need to be aligned with the Paris agreement. This means that even if our financing isn’t specifically for one of the environmental goals, we’ve also committed that at the very least it should do no harm and not be inconsistent with the goals of the Paris climate agreement. We started reviewing all our funding policies, to look at what is consistent with the goals of the agreement.
In November, our Board of Directors agreed to a new energy lending policy. We will do a lot more lending for renewable energy, for energy efficiency, for new energy technologies, for the expansion of electrical grids across Europe, and to become the first international financing institution to stop the financing of unabated fossil fuel projects by the end of 2021. In no way, our ambitions to support the fight against climate change are inconsistent with our ambition to support the development of poorer countries in Europe.
We also committed to significantly expand our lending for cleaner energy in Central and Eastern Europe, and Romania will definitely benefit from the modernization fund. We have provided a specific package for energy transition that allows us to finance 75% of projects as opposed to the normal count of 50% in CEE countries. We have also agreed to increase our lending for the just transition in those regions that are going to be particularly affected by the move towards cleaner energy, increasing our financing for SMBs, for infrastructure, for public services, that are needed to minimize the social cost of that transition.”