The ‘European Investment Bank’ Increases Support To ‘Eastern Partnership’ Countries

European Union boosts support for Ukraine ahead of Eastern Partnership Summit with new finance from the EU Bank

Independence square, Kiev, Ukraine

The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) support to Eastern Partnership countries reached nearly EUR 8 billion in signed loans today, with a new operation for Ukraine’s crucial agriculture sector. This reflects the ongoing commitment of the EU Bank to the EU’s policy priorities in the region.

On the eve of the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit, in Brussels today the EIB signed financing worth EUR 37 million to the Astarta-Kyiv holding, this will support the modernisation and innovation in Ukraine’s agricultural sector – the main source of Ukraine’s exports.

EIB Vice President Vazil Hudak said, “Support to Eastern Partnership countries remains a key priority for the EU Bank. We are working towards strengthening their economic competitiveness, increasing the quality of life of their citizens and targeting policy reforms, in line with EU priorities. The agreement signed today will help upgrade and innovate agriculture infrastructure in Ukraine which is so important for the country’s economy as the main source of its exports. It is also the first time in Ukraine, that the EIB will make financing available from its “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovator” instrument under the European Union’s Horizon 2020”

The Eastern Partnership  is a joint initiative involving the EU and six Eastern European partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. As the EU Bank, the EIB is a key player in the Partnership including through EU4Business and has been active in the region since 2007, supporting projects that meet the EU’s strategic objectives.

The EIB financing agreed today will contribute to the upgrading of agricultural infrastructure, in support of a strategic economic sector of the country which generates some 20% of Ukraine’s GDP and is a significant source of employment for 14 million of Ukraine’s citizens living in rural areas.

The EIB loan will finance new storage capacities for grain and sugar for Agro-Industrial Holding “Astarta-Kyiv” – a leading sugar exporter in Ukraine. In this context, for the first time in Ukraine, the EIB will make financing available from its “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovator” instrument under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme of which Ukraine is an associated member. The EU bank will use InnovFin to support Astarta’s development of agribusiness management software which will cover the entire agricultural value chain.

Modern storage facilities will contribute to the reduction of post-harvest losses and help mitigate adverse weather. In this way the EIB financing will contribute to the Banks’s Climate Action objective.  Regions in Ukraine to benefit from this modernisation of the agricultural sector include: Vinnytsia, Poltava and Khmelnytskyi.

Background information:

InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators is a joint initiative launched by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) in cooperation with the European Commission under Horizon 2020.

InnovFin aims to facilitate and accelerate access to finance for innovative businesses and other innovative entities in Europe.

InnovFin Emerging Innovators bridges the R&I investment gap in Moderate and Modest Innovator EU Member-States (per the European Innovation Scoreboard) and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries by improving availability of risk finance for fast-growing or R&I-driven enterprises, R&I infrastructures, innovation-enabling infrastructures and other entities. The product is delivered by the EIB or through a financial intermediary via loans and equity-type operations starting at EUR 7.5m. http://www.eib.org/products/blending/innovfin/

One of the key factors constraining the implementation of R&I activities is the lack of available financing at acceptable terms to innovative businesses since these types of companies or projects deal with complex products and technologies, unproven markets and intangible assets.

In order to overcome these difficulties, the EU and the EIB Group have joined forces to provide finance for research and innovation to entities that may otherwise struggle to access financing.

About EIB:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s bank. It is the long-term lending institution of the EU and is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investments in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

The EIB finances projects in Eastern Partnership countries on the basis of the EU External Lending Mandate. This mandate provides EIB with a guarantee covered by EU Budget for projects of significant interest to the EU and its Eastern Neighbours in the areas of local private sector development, social and economic infrastructure and climate action. The EIB coordinates closely with the European Commission and the External Action Service to ensure that its support complements the overall EU objectives for relations with Eastern Partnership countries.

[Source: The European Investment Bank -/- Media Relations]
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