European Investment Bank Supports Equitable Growth with €28.4 Billion Financing in EU Cohesion Regions

European Investment Bank Supports Equitable Growth with €28.4 Billion Financing in EU Cohesion Regions

(IN BRIEF) In 2022, the European Investment Bank (EIB) focused on promoting equitable growth and convergence of living standards by providing €28.4 billion in new financing for projects in EU cohesion regions. Poland was the largest beneficiary, receiving €24.8 billion, followed by France and Spain. The EIB’s lending targeted four policy areas, including sustainable energy, sustainable cities and regions, innovation and digitalization, and SME/mid-cap finance. Furthermore, the EIB prioritized climate action and environmental sustainability, with 66% of its lending for these goals directed to cohesion regions. This demonstrates the EIB’s commitment to fostering sustainable and inclusive growth across the European Union.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 21-Jul-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — In 2022, the European Investment Bank Group (European Investment Bank, European Investment Fund) signed €28.4 billion in new financing for projects in EU regions with lower per-capita income. The volume of operations in these cohesion regions are a testament to the EIB Group’s commitment to equitable growth and the convergence of living standards.

Poland was among the main beneficiaries of EIB lending in cohesion regions, which amounted to €24.8 billion in total, or 45.9% of the Bank’s lending inside the EU. The EIF signed €3.6 billion of new financing in cohesion regions, or 39% of its total investment volume. Across the EU, EIB lending supported projects with a total investment cost of €146 billion in 2022, according to the EIB Group Activity in Cohesion Regions published today.

EIB activity in cohesion regions focused on four policy areas. Some of the projects financed fell under more than one policy area:

–       Support for the sustainable energy and natural resources policy goal represented 30% of total EU lending, of which 55% was signed in cohesion regions (€8.8 billion). This represented 36% of lending to cohesion regions, thanks to a significant concentration of large renewable energy and electricity network projects in these regions in 2022.

–       Support for the sustainable cities and regions policy goal represented 27% of total EU lending, of which 53% in cohesion regions (€7.8 billion). This represented 31% of lending to cohesion regions, primarily driven by lending under the transport policy objective for safe and sustainable infrastructure as well as lending for social housing, urban development and regional development.

–       Support for the innovation, digital and human capital goal represented 25% of total EU lending, of which €4.6 billion (34%) was in cohesion regions. This represented 19% of lending to cohesion regions.

–       Lending under the SME/mid-cap finance policy goal in 2022 accounted for €9.7 billion (18%), of which €3.5 billion (36%) went to cohesion regions. This represented 14% of lending to cohesion regions.

EIB’s lending for climate action and environmental sustainability in 2022 amounted to €32.4 billion for the EU as a whole (60% of the total), whereas its lending for the same goal in cohesion regions amounted to €16.2 billion, or 66% of the total volume. This implies that cohesion regions received approximately half of the EIB’s total EU lending for climate action and environmental sustainability in 2022.

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova commented: “As regional cohesion suffers from geopolitical uncertainty, the arrival of refugees and energy shock, cities and regions still need to transform to meet the European Union’s climate goals and bridge the digital divide. Innovation is vital to addressing these challenges. The EIB Group provides a wide range of financial and advisory tools in support of these policy objectives which have shown tangible impact.”

In addition to Poland in where €3.8 billion of cohesion financing was signed, France, with €4.8 billion, and Spain, with €4.2 billion, were the other top beneficiaries . Almost 50% of cohesion financing in Poland supported sustainable cities and regions development, while the remaining financing equally supported projects in 3 sectors: sustainable energy and natural resources, innovation, digital and human capital and support to SMEs and Mid-Caps.

EIB Vice-President prof. Teresa Czerwińska said: “Poland continues its transition towards greener and climate-friendly economy and cohesion financing plays here and important role. Thanks to it, Polish cities and regions become less polluted, they transform to modern living areas and the energy sector is accelerating its transformation. The EIB Group is committed to invest in cohesion regions and to support sustainable and inclusive growth across the European Union.”

Total EIB EU-27 lending inside and outside cohesion regions in 2022

Southern and Eastern Member States consisting entirely or mainly of cohesion regions absorbed high financing volumes for projects in the areas of sustainable energy and natural resources as well as sustainable cities and regions. EIB lending to Bulgaria, Lithuania and Poland had a strong focus on sustainable cities and regions whereas the sustainable energy and natural resources goal was dominant in Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Spain.

Some Member States have distinctive patterns, e.g. Malta and Romania present very high shares of innovation, digital and human capital. On the other hand, the high lending shares for sustainable energy and natural resources in Belgium and Ireland and for sustainable cities and regions in Denmark and the Netherlands testify to the high need for related projects in richer Member States too.

Cumulative EIB lending in cohesion regions by Public Policy Goal15 since 2021

The EIB Group activities in cohesion regions and their impact – by sector:

Research, development and innovation

– €2.16 billion EIB financing of new RDI projects
– An additional €14 billion of potential sales resulting from the projects financed
– Employment of 22 388 full time equivalent staff supported by the projects


– Over 478 100 m2 of newly constructed or rehabilitated education facilities
– Some €310 million of new educational and ICT equipment supplied
– Some 194 700 students enrolled in education facilities benefitting from student loans


– Some 862 700 m2 of constructed or rehabilitated floor area in health facilities
– 7 329 beds in new or refurbished health facilities
– €205 million of equipment and ICT supplied to health facilities
– Some 12 542 000 people with access to improved health services

Regional and urban development

– Some 1 375 000 m2 of built surface newly constructed or upgraded
– Over 1 184 000 m2 area of open space developed or remediated
– 50 social, cultural, recreational, etc. facilities built or renovated
– Over 15 527 000 people benefitting from new or improved infrastructure
– 3 750 000 visitors per year to new or renovated culture, recreation and sport facilities


– Over 1 360 km of rail tracks constructed or upgraded
– Over 80 km of public transport lanes or tracks constructed or upgraded
– 180 stations or stops constructed or upgraded
– 2 861 vehicles or rolling stock purchased or rehabilitated
– Over 1 500 alternative fuel stations
– Over 152 000 000 additional trips on public transport per year
– Almost 16 million hours of time savings per year
– €19 million of vehicle operating cost savings per year
– 775 km of road lanes built or upgraded
– Over 70 300 daily road passengers benefitting from improved road infrastructure
– An estimated 28 road fatalities avoided each year

Sustainable energy

– 8 435 MW of electricity generation capacity from renewable energy sources
– 15 614 GWh of electricity produced from renewable energy sources per year
– Over 3 885 000 households which could be supplied with the electricity generated by the project
– Some 19 271 km of power lines/cables constructed or upgraded for transmission and distribution of electricity
– Over 11 000 MVA capacity of electricity sub-stations constructed or upgraded
– Some 2 433 000 smart energy meters installed
– Incremental demand supplied of more than 9 200 GWh/year

Natural resources use

– 2 405 000 ha of agricultural land with improved management
– Over 1 482 00 ha of forestry land with improved management
– Almost 21 000 beneficiaries – farmers, foresters, fish producers – receiving support for investment

Drinking water supply

– Over 1 000 km of water mains or distribution pipes installed or rehabilitated
– 64 km of combined collectors installed or rehabilitated
– 65 000 m3 capacity of retention structures, reservoirs or raw water storage constructed or rehabilitated
– 212 000 m3/day capacity of water treatment plant constructed or rehabilitated
– 298 624 domestic connections to water supply created or rehabilitated
– Over 3 561 000 people benefitting from safe drinking water

Flood protection

– 62 km of dykes constructed or upgraded
– Over 207 500 persons facing reduced risk of flooding

Wastewater collection and treatment

– Over 360 km of sewer and/or stormwater pipes installed or rehabilitated
– 1 275 000 person-equivalent capacity of sewage treatment plant constructed or rehabilitated
– 491 000 tonnes/year of new or rehabilitated treatment facility capacity and 119 000 tonnes/year new waste facility capacity
– Over 1 122 000 people benefitting from improved sanitation services
– 400 000 people served by new waste treatment facilities
– 297 000 tonnes/year of waste handled in new or rehabilitated waste or waste treatment facilities
– 347 500 tonnes/year of recyclable bio-waste collected separately

Information and communication technologies

– 2 629 3G, 4G and 5G sites installed
– Over 1 957 000 homes passed to fibre-to- the-home (FTTx) (excluding VDSL)
– 5 330 000 additional subscribers with 5G services enabled
– Over 3 098 000 homes connected to FFTx (excluding VDSL)

SME and Mid-Cap finance

– €3.3 bn new signatures31 benefitting SMEs/mid-caps in cohesion regions (€1.8bn in less developed regions and €1.5bn in transition regions)
– Approximately 26 500 SMEs/mid-caps supported in cohesion regions
– Circa 518 200 jobs sustained in SMEs/mid-caps in cohesion regions

The European Union’s Cohesion Policy aims to ensure economic, social and territorial cohesion between the different regions of the EU, to bring about a convergence in living standards and prosperity. By tackling regional disparities, the policy contributes to the harmonious development of the Union and reduces the risk of fragmentation. In addition to regional differences in gross domestic product (GDP), it seeks to readdress other inequalities such as differences in opportunities or varying exposures to the negative impacts of globalization and climate risks.

Cohesion priority regions for each programming period are defined by the EU Cohesion Policy map and fall into two categories:

1. Less developed regions – GDP per inhabitant less than 75% of the EU average;
2. Transition regions – GDP per inhabitant between 75% and 100% of the EU average.

The EU’s Cohesion policy for its 2021-2027 long-term budget devotes special attention to regions where economic development is below the EU average.

Cohesion was one of the original reasons behind the foundation of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in 1958 and remains one of its core priorities.

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Katarzyna Karpiuk
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SOURCE: European Investment Bank



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