When the Treaty of Rome entered into force on 1 January 1958, the European Investment Bank was founded. In the 60 years since then, the EIB has contributed significantly to making Europe more open, innovative and sustainable.
In 2017, the EIB Group approved a record number of 901 operations, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, fostering innovation, protecting the environment, enhancing social cohesion and education and helping to build crucial infrastructure. We provided EUR 78.2 billion to help deliver on policy goals in Europe and worldwide, leveraging total investment of around EUR 250 billion by crowding in private capital.
With close to 12,000 operations in more than 160 countries around the world, the EIB Group continues to make significant contributions to improving people’s lives. We are guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Action and other international principles and standards.
2017 was a crucial year for three important initiatives that highlight our commitment to sustainability. With the Circular Economy Initiative, we are promoting an economy fit for future challenges, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained for as long as possible and is no longer wasted in landfills and incinerators. The Economic Resilience Initiative, which continued to build momentum through several new projects in 2017, aims at mobilising additional finance to support the capacity of economies in the Southern Neighbourhood (North Africa and the Middle East) and Western Balkans regions. The objective is to enable these regions to better absorb and respond to crises and shocks, such as the Syrian refugee crisis. We are also improving our own governance with the Gender Equality Initiative, which promotes gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and ensures that gender equality is embedded in our lending, blending and advising activities within and outside the European Union.
Furthermore, in 2017 we signed our first activities under the new Natural Capital Financing Facility to support projects that protect and promote biodiversity and climate adaptation. A joint EIB and European Commission financial instrument, this provides loans and investments backed by an EU guarantee.
Sustainable finance is also deeply embedded in the way we refinance our activities in the capital markets. 2017 marked our ten-year involvement in green bonds, in the form of our Climate Awareness Bonds. Our pioneering role has been instrumental in their development and in attracting investors in impressive numbers – another anniversary worth celebrating.
Werner Hoyer, EIB President
Pier Luigi Gilibert, EIF Chief Executive