The European Investment Bank’s commitment to clean energy presents positive outlook for Europe

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Last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced that its shareholders, the 27 European Union member states, had unanimously approved a €10bn capital increase, targeting four key areas: clean energy, innovation and skills, modern infrastructure and SMEs. This represents a cumulative increase since the €2.2bn investment that formed part of its first energy policy in 2007 – ‘Clean energy for Europe: a reinforced EIB contribution.’

This investment will undoubtedly have a positive impact on Europe, particularly in promoting clean energy and boosting the economy. The fact that all members agreed to the capital increase will serve as a ‘vote of confidence’ for the economy, spawning further investment from other (public and private) sources and ultimately resulting in growth.

The inclusion of clean energy in the core focus areas demonstrates the EIB’s commitment to promoting and securing sustainable energy. This in turn shows support for the European Union’s climate policy and will help the EU achieve its target of meeting 20% of overall EU energy consumption from renewable energy sources by the year 2020. This ensures that clean energy remains a priority across Europe.

This investment also aims to address unemployment in Europe. With unemployment in the EU estimated at 11.8%, Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, noted that the approval of the capital increase demonstrates a combined desire by European governments to support investment that will create jobs. For the UK in particular, a survey by the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association supports the expectation that clean energy will help stimulate employment. The survey revealed that investment in fuel cells has the potential to preserve approximately 145,000 jobs in automotive manufacturing as well as create over 2,200 new jobs in the UK by 2020.

The renewed investment from the EIB should ensure that Europe is better placed to handle the commercial rollout of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over the next three years and establish the European economy as a key market in the use of hydrogen fuel cell technologies and infrastructure.

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