EIB and EFTA Council agree new envelope of €800 million for EIB investments in EFTA countries until 2025, with a strong focus on climate and sustainability.
New agreement will bring total EIB financing for projects in EFTA countries to around €6 billion.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Free Trade Agreement organisation (EFTA) have agreed a renewal of EIB’s “EFTA Facility”, under which it invests in the four EFTA countries; Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The investment envelope will be extended with a further four years and receive a top-up of €800 million, available as EIB loans in all four countries.
This increase, available until 31 December 2025, follows the conclusion of the previous € 1 billion envelope, which come to a close at the end of 2021. The EIB’s Board of Directors voted to enlarge the available envelope in response to heightened interest in the facility and a shared interest with the EFTA-countries in financing climate-relevant and sustainability projects.
EIB Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen, said: “In-line with its climate priorities, the EIB has financed many renewable energy projects under the EFTA facility, from energy interconnectors to geothermal energy production. The EFTA facility contributes to further economic integration between the EU and EFTA countries, who remain our closest economic neighbours. With the additional €800 million available for the coming 4 years, the Bank stands ready to finance even more projects that further this economic partnership, while also contributing to the decarbonisation of our economies.”
EFTA General Secretary Henri Gétaz added: “In appreciation of the good cooperation with the European Investment Bank and in view of the strong economic ties between the EFTA States and the European Union, I highly welcome the decision of the EIB to extend its investment envelope for another four years. The EFTA States are looking forward to continuing the close cooperation with the EIB, not least in the area of climate and renewable energy, which are strong priorities today and in the nearest future. The EIB-EFTA facility is among the milestones of the economic and social ties between EFTA and the EU.”
Since the first project in Norway in 1974, the EIB has made available slightly over €5.2 billion for projects in the EFTA region.
The current investment envelope system targeted at countries within the “European Free Trade Agreement” (EFTA) was first set up in 1994 and enables the Bank to participate in financing selected projects, which contain a direct EU interest. So far, more than 50 projects for a total of €4.8 billion have been signed under this EFTA Facility. Between 2012 and 2021, the Bank signed loans of €1.9 billion in EFTA countries, mainly in the sectors energy (33%) and transport (29%). Main destinations of EIB loans were Norway (59%) and Iceland (31%), followed by Switzerland (9%) and Liechtenstein (1%).
This article was first published on 31 January by EIB.