Education and skills

Strategic context for EIB’s 2017 education and skills operations

Investments in education and skills are critical for the development of a knowledge economy in Europe, and the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy. At the national and EU level, a well-educated, appropriately skilled workforce is essential for innovation, productivity and growth. For individual EU citizens, the provision of education and training at all levels is essential to ensure access to high-quality employment opportunities and rewarding careers. This is particularly true for younger generations.

The Europe 2020 strategy sets two targets for education and skills:

  1. by 2020, no more than 10% of children should be leaving school early. In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, the EU-28 average was 10.7%, having fallen from 15.3% ten years earlier;
  2. at least 40% of 30-34 year olds should have achieved a tertiary or equivalent qualification. The EU-28 average was 39.6% in 2016.

Although both objectives are now achievable, it is important to remember that significant differences exist between, and within, individual Member States.

Types of EIB operations to promote education and skills

In 2017, to help achieve the EU targets set out in the education and skills 2020 strategy, the EIB continued to focus its financial assistance on three main areas:


  1. helping to ensure that Europe can commit adequate resources to the development of leading research and teaching institutions, and supporting the construction and modernisation of educational facilities;
  2. support for the training and skills development of young people enhancing both their employability and their employment opportunities;
  3. support for lifelong learning and vocational trainingopportunities for all age groups through a range of tailored opportunities and supporting measures.

New education and skills operations signed in 2017

In 2017, the EIB signed EUR 1.3 billion of new education and skills operations in relation to projects worth almost EUR 6 billion. Over 1.1 million students are expected to benefit directly from these projects in terms of additional or improved facilities and opportunities.

Selection of expected results for new education and skills operations signed in 2017

Energy-efficient school buildings