The European Investment Bank (EIB) provided new loans worth EUR 1.04bn and the European Investment Fund (EIF – which together with EIB forms the EIB Group) executed operations in Romania totalling EUR 61m in 2016. The EU bank financed priority public infrastructure investments under several 2014-2020 EU Operational Programmes, continued to support SMEs and midcap companies and helped to increase the energy efficiency of residential buildings in Bucharest.
Andrew McDowell, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, stated: “2016 was a very successful year for the EIB in Romania, where we signed more than EUR 1bn of new operations. In addition to lending, our technical assistance helped to identify and develop projects in Romania suitable for financing. We will continue to focus in the future on investments contributing to growth and employment, accelerating the absorption of EU funds and improving Romanian citizens’ living standards.”
Through the co-financing of EU funds the EIB provided long-term funding totalling EUR 760m for priority infrastructure projects during the 2014-2020 EU programming period with a total investment cost of some EUR 12.2bn:
EUR 360m to finance growth-oriented investments targeting competitiveness, human capital and large-scale infrastructure, focusing on investments in the areas of energy, environmental improvement, research, development and innovation (RDI), information and communication technology (ICT), employment, education and social amenities;
EUR 300m in support of priority environment-oriented projects in the water and municipal solid waste management sectors, contributing to climate action and environmental protection whilst at the same time contributing to sustainable development and the improvement of living standards.
The EIB maintained its support for energy efficiency investments in urban centres, lending a total of EUR 57m to the municipalities of Bucharest sectors 2, 4 and 6. With savings of around 50% in the heating energy consumption of the buildings concerned, these projects are helping to significantly reduce emissions and pollution, with benefits for the environment and the living standards of the people of Bucharest.
In 2016, the Bank concluded EUR 305m worth of intermediated lending with seven EIB partner financing institutions, further improving the access to financing of Romanian SMEs. In this context the EU bank concluded the EUR 206m Romanian SME Initiative, a joint initiative of the EIB Group, the European Commission and the Romanian Government that makes a significant contribution to sustainable growth and employment through the facilitation of credit at attractive terms in Romania.
The EIB lent EUR 15m to Agricover Credit IFN to help finance smaller projects implemented by SMEs in the agriculture sector. This is the first EIB transaction in Romania benefiting from the support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financing component of the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE). Thanks to this operation Agricover Credit IFN will be able to provide affordable short and medium-term funding to SMEs operating in the agriculture sector, which is one of the key sectors of the Romanian economy.
In addition to its lending activities, the EU bank provided advisory support to Romanian authorities at various levels, signing Project Advisory Support Service Agreements worth some EUR 19m with the National Public Procurement Agency (ANAP) and the Ministry for European Funds respectively for:
Assistance to ANAP, with the objective of establishing a national public procurement strategy, which forms part of the fundamental conditionality set by the EU for the 2014-2020 programming period;
Project implementation support under the EU’s Large Infrastructure Operational Programme for the National Roads and Motorways Company, the National Railway Company, and water and waste sector regional operational companies.
Through the European Investment Advisory Hub – which is also part of the Investment Plan for Europe – the EIB signed an Advisory Services Agreement worth EUR 1.5m with Romania’s Ministry of Health to facilitate project preparation for the construction of three regional hospitals in Iasi, Cluj-Napoca and Craiova.
In 2016 in Romania, the EIF committed EUR 61m in five guarantee and five microfinance operations, aimed at raising investments worth EUR 155m.