EIB announces first financial transaction under Investment Plan
The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced the first financial transaction to benefit from an EU guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) on 12 May 2015. The transaction takes place while negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the formal adoption of EFSI are still ongoing, with a view to reaching an agreement in June 2015, in order to respond to calls for the urgent launch of concrete EFSI initiatives, according to the EIB.
The transaction is an agreement signed between the European Investment Fund (EIF), the arm of the EIB Group specialising in risk capital instruments and risk financing for SMEs and innovation, and Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, to increase lending to innovative SMEs and mid-caps in France to a total amount of € 420 million over the next two years, thanks to the guarantee to be financed from the EU budget under the EFSI. According to the EIB, this operation under EFSI will enable the EIF to accelerate the deployment of resources earmarked for funding highly innovative businesses under the Horizon 2020 programme's InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators initiative by offering better financing terms.
Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, welcomed the signing of this first agreement and commented by reiterating that the Investment Plan for Europe is "a top priority for the European Commission". According to the Vice-President, "Thanks to the combined support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the Horizon 2020 programme, significant additional finance will be made available to innovative companies – SMEs, start-ups but also small mid-caps – in France."
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added that "In addition to the EUR 315bn Investment Plan providing support for innovation and SMEs, InnovFin instruments under the Horizon 2020 programme are to raise EUR 48bn for investment in research and innovation."
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