EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell announced the extension and expansion of the Bank’s “EFTA Facility” at a meeting with Iceland’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Bjarni Benediktsson, in Reykjavik on 1 March. Iceland currently holds the Chairmanship of the EFTA Council.
Minister Benediktsson commented: "It is good to see that Isavia and other Icelandic companies will retain access to loans for important investments in infrastructure, without guarantees from either the government or Reykjavik City, from a multinational investment bank the size of the EIB, as the Bank can offer one of the best credit terms in Europe. This is clear sign that the Icelandic economy is doing well internationally."
The EIB’s Board of Directors voted to enlarge the available envelope with an extra EUR 200 million in response to heightened interest in the facility and a growing pipeline.
Vice-President Andrew McDowell, said: “In-line with its climate priorities, the EIB has financed many renewable energy projects under the EFTA facility. Iceland is one of the forerunners in developing geothermal energy production, and over the years EIB has contributed to the financing of about 600 MW worth of power generation in the country. With one billion euro available for the coming four years, the Bank stands ready to finance more projects that further the economic integration between the EU and EFTA, our closest economic neighbours. EIB financing is open for nearly all sectors and is able to support even very large and important projects like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, or the Hellisheiði geothermal plant near Reykjavík.”
The EU Ambassador to Iceland Michael Mann commented: “This major funding opportunity for the EFTA countries reflects the fact that they are the EU's closest partners, tightly interlinked to the EU's own development via the EEA Agreement and other bilateral arrangements. Our cooperation, not only economic but also political and cultural, remains mutually beneficial and we look forward to it growing stronger in the future.”
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