The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group, composed of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), announced on Monday that they increased cooperation to implement the new EU Sustainable Blue Economy policy.
Accordingly, both institutions will work jointly with EU member states to meet existing financing needs to reduce pollution in European seas and support investment for blue innovation and blue bioeconomy.
The EIB and EU will align efforts to reduce pollution in European seas, especially in affected areas such as the Mediterranean Sea.
“There can be no Green Deal without a sustainable blue economy. Oceans are an incredible resource of renewable energy, food, and innovative medicines and solutions, and host many economic activities constituting the blue economy. But our seas and oceans are also fragile ecosystems that need our protection. To achieve a climate-neutral, circular, and clean blue economy in the EU, we need to channel finance so that the projects contributing to the Green Deal can take off the ground. This is what our partnership with the EIB group will contribute to do,” said European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius.
Meanwhile, the EIB’s Vice President, Ricardo Mourinho Félix, mentioned that preserving the health of oceans is key to tackling climate challenges.
The European Commission’s new Zero Pollution Action Plan aims to reduce pollution from nutrient losses and chemical pesticides by 50 percent, reduce plastic litter at sea by 50 percent, and reduce micro-plastics released into the environment by 30 percent, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean Sea.
The EIB is financing operations aiming to reduce the discharge of chemical pollutants, nutrients, plastic waste, and micro-plastics into the ocean. It supports improved wastewater and storm water management while bringing significant expertise in project preparation, implementation, and financing.
Both institutions will carry out a comprehensive market study and identify investable projects for pollution avoidance and reduction, such as biodegradability, recycling and re-use, along with the entire plastic value chain.
They will offer solutions to increase access to financing, including risk reduction facilities, the provision of equity or loans, and grants; all aiming to incentivise private and public financiers to provide additional liquidity to such projects.
The EIF, as part of the EIB Group and the EU, will jointly prepare a framework to stimulate investments in blue innovation and to implement the Farm to Fork and bioeconomy strategies.
Targeted areas include, among others, innovation in blue bioeconomy, production and marketing of sustainable seafood and algae products, as well as sustainable maritime tourism and environmental solutions.
The EIF and EU will jointly also develop solutions for equity and guarantee funding. It will provide member states’ managing authorities with ways of matching their national resources with funding from relevant European funds, in particular the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund through financial instruments and blending operations.
As part of the proposed measures under the framework, the EIB group in particular, through the EIF, will provide market testing and expertise in product structuring, private fund-raising, and mandate implementation.