The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €8bn of financing for 21 projects in energy efficiency, renewables and infrastructure.

Among the 21 are four projects earmarked for support from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), pending approval from the European Commission. These include a €75mn equity investment in Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, a fund backed by PensionDanmark’s to support €2bn of renewable projects such as onshore and offshore wind farms and biomass facilities in northern and western Europe; a €275mn loan (of which €75mn under EFSI) to Metsä Fibre Oy for the construction and operation of a self-sufficient bioproduct mill in Finland; as well as energy efficiency improvements in France and Spain.

None of these four projects have reached financial close, and they are expected to attract funding from the commercial banking market and multilateral organisations, as the EIB portion is limited to 50% of a project’s total cost.

The projects approved by the EIB reflect the EU Bank’s focus on climate action. Werner Hoyer, EIB

Other financings approved yesterday include the modernisation of a regional hospital in Austria, support for sustainable investment by local authorities in Spain and Hungary, upgrading urban infrastructure in Ukraine and improving road links in Honduras.

“The projects approved by the EIB this week also reflect the EU Bank’s focus on climate action. EFSI will allow us to do more of the good work the EIB has done in the past unlocking investment needed to reduce energy use and cut emissions. Projects earmarked today for EFSI guarantee support complement the EIB Group’s support for projects in innovation, social infrastructure, and SME funding beyond EFSI as part of its ordinary activity,” says Werner Hoyer, EIB Group president.

Originally scheduled to be operational by June 2015, EFSI has encountered resistance in council negotiations, particularly around EU sources of funding and its public guarantee. However, an EIB spokesperson tells GTR  that the bank still “expects things to go ahead during the summer”. In a statement, the EIB has also confirmed its commitment to supporting the projects earmarked for financing under the new fund “even if the EU guarantee should be found not to apply”.

EFSI is expected to receive initial capital of €21bn, including €5bn of funding from the EIB and €16bn in guarantees from the EU. The European Commission hopes that it will help strengthen capital market borrowing as well as the EIB’s own lending capacity.