Sunday 18 March 2018

European Investment Bank may co-finance infrastructure projects

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THE European Investment Bank (EIB) will look at how it can co-finance projects backed by the Government's planned €6.4bn stimulus package, it has told the Irish Independent.

The Government last week announced that money in the pension fund was being transferred to a new Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

The funds are expected to be ploughed into projects such as road building, water infrastructure and school building.

The Luxembourg-based EIB was set up in the 1950s to help invest inside and outside what is now the European Union.

It is currently working with AIB funding SMEs, as well as part-funding school building projects up to €100m.

Jonathan Taylor, EIB vice-president, said the ISIF was an important programme and investment.

"We'll be looking at ways that we can support all of these programmes and we'll be looking at possibilities," Mr Taylor said.

"Unemployment continues to be the principal challenge in the European economy and we need to do what we can to underpin recovery to deal with that."

A spokesman later added: "We stand ready to help and share experience and work together to co-finance projects whenever we can."

The EIB also said that it expected to meet – if not beat – its lending target of €600m for projects and companies this year, and maintain the same level of loans next year.

Mr Taylor and senior officials from the EIB were in Dublin this week to formally sign off on plans to part fund the Government's school-building programme.

The EIB also said that it was in talks with Bank of Ireland to extend its lending for SMEs, with an announcement expected in the coming months.

The EIB is currently working with AIB in providing €200m for investment by small and medium companies across Ireland.

It also signed off on co-financing to build the N7 Newlands Cross flyover and upgrade the N11 Arklow-Rathnew road in Co Wicklow to a dual carriageway.

The EIB is considering funding for a €370m extension to the Luas.

Irish Independent

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