The non-EU countries of Iceland and Norway have signed ‘contribution agreements’ that will make them part of the InvestEU programme.
A statement from the European Commission said that this was an opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the bloc and the European Economic Area. Iceland and Norway are the first non-EU countries to be included within InvestEU.
Together, the two contribution agreements are worth up to €490m. This amount increases the EU budget compartment of the InvestEU programme. This covers financial products and projects under three InvestEU policy windows of sustainable infrastructure; research, innovation, and digitalisation; and small-and-medium-sized businesses.
Iceland and Norway will participate in the InvestEU programme through implementing partners, which include the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB). As EEA members, Iceland and Norway can participate under the same conditions as EU Member States in the programme.
Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “The InvestEU programme is a crucial tool for attracting investment to achieve the green and digital transition in Europe, supporting innovation and helping businesses to grow and create jobs. I am delighted that with these contribution agreements, Iceland and Norway have become our partners in addressing the immense investment needs we face in the coming years.”
For those not in the know, InvestEU provides the EU with long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable recovery. It provides crucial support to companies, especially in view of the still ongoing crisis. It also helps mobilising private investments for the EU’s policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal and the digital transition.
More recently, it was in the news here at Expert Investor when the European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit signed a deal that looked to channel €1bn to 2,500 small-to-medium enterprises across central and eastern Europe.
The deal would see the EIF provide two guarantees worth around €370m to UniCredit Group to finance approximately €1bn of investment made by small businesses in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Those transactions are backed by InvestEU.