European bank plans more non-EU loans to stem migration crisis
BRUSSELS - Reuters
REUTERS photoThe European Investment Bank wants to make more loans outside the 28-nation European Union to help tackle the migration crisis and will present plans to European Union leaders at their next meeting in June, its president said in an interview on May 20.
Werner Hoyer cited rules that say the bank must lend 90 percent of its funds within the EU but said the EIB could double its loans outside the bloc, expected to be 17.5 billion euros ($20 billion) under its existing mandate over the next five years.
“Short-term humanitarian interventions are urgent but they do not address the causes of forced displacement and the need to build economic resilience in these countries,” he told Reuters, referring to more than million people entering Europe last year.
“We have to ensure continuity and equally strengthen basic services and social infrastructure in countries of origin, transit and host countries,” he said.
The EIB’s non-EU loans amount to about 36 billion euros for various projects in countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and the Western Balkans.
Flagship projects include cash for a water system in Jordan, money for small companies in Turkey, investment in information technology in Egypt that developed e-learning tools for Syrian refugees in a Lebanese camp and a micro-fund for women in Jordan.
“It is clear that more medium and long term measures are needed to strengthen the international community’s response to the current crisis of forced displacement, as well as the wider global challenge of migration,” Hoyer said.
The bank said separately in a statement that it “could substantially do more, stepping-up its financing provided the required conditions are in place, notably availability of guarantee and grant support.”