European Investment Bank Support for Czech Projects Doubled in 2019
In 2019, EIB Group’s investments in the Czech Republic reached almost EUR 1.5 billion, more than twice the figure for 2018. The funding was mainly directed towards SMEs and the transport sector. Approximately 7,000 businesses benefited from EIB Group financing. Photo credit: EIB.
Czech Rep., Mar 4 (BD) – “2019 was an exceptionally successful year for the European Investment Bank Group in the Czech Republic. In cooperation with our Czech counterparts, we provided well-balanced support to the public and the private sector,” said Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), during a press conference in Prague. The EIB Group, which consists of the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF), provided loans, guarantees and equity to the Czech Republic in 2019 worth almost EUR 1.5 billion, a 110% increase on the year before. Around 7,000 businesses benefited from the EIB Group’s operations, and the funding supported almost 140,000 jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Most of the financing was dedicated to SMEs: over EUR 700 million under different agreements. The rest of the funding was mostly for infrastructure and transport investments and projects. EIB signed a loan of over EUR 400 million to finance upgrades, modernisation and renovation in the railway industry. The financing will help implement Czech transport policy, which intends to remove bottlenecks in the railway infrastructure and support cross-border rail transport projects. Additionally, over EUR 300 million was granted to the Czech energy utility CEZ, improving and extending the electricity distribution network in nine regions.
In addition to the financial contributions, the EIB group also provided advice and consultation services under the JASPERS initiative, which were also mainly aimed at transport. JASPERS (“Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions”) aims to “help cities and regions absorb European funds through top-quality projects.” Under this initiative, the EIB technical assistance helped Czech authorities successfully deliver ten projects together worth over EUR 2 billion in 2019, of which six were major projects in the transport sector. There are currently 16 other on-going projects supported by JASPERS, the majority of which are also in the transport sector.