EU leaders urge EIB to expand lending to defense projects

  • 2024-03-18
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Leaders of 14 European Union (EU) member states in a joint letter to European Investment Bank (EIB) are calling for a more extensive lending to defense projects, LETA was told at the State Chancellery.

In t he letter heads of state and government from Finland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden call on the EIB to expand financing for security and defense in line with the EU's new priorities.

Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) is one of the signatories of the appeal to the bank.

The EU leaders note that the EIB plays a key role in financing investment in Europe and also acts as the EU's lending institution. As Russia's war against Ukraine has led to an increased need for investment in Europe's security and defense sector, EU leaders consider it urgent to discuss ways to secure EIB investment in the security and defense sector. At the same time, it is also necessary to be able to attract investors and possibly broaden their investor base, as well as maintain the credit rating.

The letter to the EIB states that in the current situation, however, EIB financing in the field of security and defense is limited to dual-use projects producing items which can be used for both civilian and military purposes. The EIB's Strategic European Security Initiative (SESI) and the recently established EIF Defense Equity Facility are valuable initiatives, but they are only a small part of the EIB's current scope.

According to the EU leaders, it is necessary "to explore different possibilities that would enable the EIB to invest in defense- related activities beyond existing dual-use projects". 

"This would mean discussing and re-evaluating current definitions of dual-use projects and the list of excluded activities as well as reconsidering its defense industry lending policy and other restrictive elements," the letter says.