EIB May Boost Funding Pledges to Romania to EU1 Billion in 2016

The European Investment Bank may boost its total funding pledges to Romania to 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in 2016 after stalled projects decreased lending to the country in the past three years, Vice President Cristian Popa said.

The Luxembourg-based bank approved about 700 million euros in funding to Romania so far this year, the highest amount since 2011. The lender is now looking to finance more projects in agriculture, energy, communication and health care, Popa said in an interview in Bucharest on July 15.

“We don’t exclude signing projects that would bring our total funding to Romania to 1 billion euros this year,” he said. “We’re focusing on projects from the private sector” that would contribute to economic growth.

With the estimated budget deficit already close to the European Union’s limit of 3 percent of economic output, Romania is looking to cover part of its needs from international financial institutions, such as the EIB, to help it co-fund projects and improve infrastructure. The government signed a 360 million-euro project with the EIB on Friday aimed to improve the use of EU funds.

The EIB is also looking across the continent to use a so-called “capital relief program” to help banks boost disposable funding resources and help the economy, while also meeting increased capital requirements from supervisory authorities, he said.

“We’re looking to use this product in several countries,” Popa said without naming specific countries of interest. “Our objective is that any release of capital to be translated in additional credit to the real economy.”