Senior executives from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest international public bank, are in Scotland this week to outline new financing opportunities for Scottish businesses and unveil a major investment in the University of Edinburgh.
The EIB has provided more than £3 billion for direct investment in Scotland over the past decade, with additional investment from UK wide programmes.
The EIB is directly owned by EU member states, including a 16% share owned by the UK government, and last year provided 84 billion euros for investments around Europe and the world.
In the first high level visit by the EIB to Scotland in four years, the delegation will meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and brief more than 100 entrepreneurs and business leaders on new financing opportunities.
“The European Investment Bank recognises new opportunities to increase support for infrastructure and innovation investment across Scotland, and improve access to finance for Scottish small business,” said Jonathan Taylor, EIB vice president.
“2015 represented a record year for the EIB’s engagement across the United Kingdom, providing £5.6 billion to support more than £16 billion of overall investment, including backing new hospitals in Edinburgh and Dumfries, improved energy infrastructure and smart meters in homes across Scotland.”
At the University of Strathclyde technology and innovation centre on Monday, the EIB, Scottish Enterprise and the CBI will brief more than 100 companies on new financing opportunities for innovation.
On Tuesday, the EIB will announce record new support for investment at the University of Edinburgh that “represents the EIB’s largest ever loan for a European University.”
This will be the second significant EIB loan signed with Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, University of Edinburgh vice-chancellor and principal.
A £50 million EIB loan agreed four years ago has improved teaching and research facilities at the University of Edinburgh and refurbished its main library.
“I am pleased that Scotland has consistently established itself as a great place for the European Investment Bank to invest,” said Sturgeon.
“We will continue to work closely with The European Investment Bank to build on our existing relationship in order to increase investment in innovation enterprises and infrastructure that will benefit all.”
The EIB’s Jonathan Taylor added: “The European Investment Bank works closely with devolved administrations across Europe …
“Having examined Scotland’s latest budget and the National Planning Framework, the EIB sees new opportunities to work with the Scottish Government to help deliver investment that improves lives, unlocks economic opportunities and strengthens services that benefit people across Scotland.”
The EIB said it has invested in Scotland since 1974 when a loan was agreed for Peterhead power station.
It said its investments also include financing for new hospitals currently being built at the Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital and Dumfries and Galloway Infirmary, as well as Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
Transport investments backed by the EIB include the final motorway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the new Aberdeen Western bypass and Glasgow Airport.
Education investments in Scotland supported by the EIB include the new Technology and Innovation Centre at Strathclyde University, City of Glasgow College, and schools in Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, North Lanarkshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Highlands.
The EIB said it has also backed investment in renewable energy and energy infrastructure across Scotland and supported social housing investment by local housing associations and helped improve mobile telephone networks in rural areas.