Europe set to boost innovation in Turkey

Europe set to boost innovation in Turkey

Güneş Kömürcüler ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Europe set to boost innovation in Turkey

The 55 million-euro loan to Tofaş will finance the development and implementation of technologies for motor vehicles' fuel efficiency and safety characteristics.

he European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a 55 million-euro agreement to support research, development and innovation activities with a Turkish company in the framework of its newly launched financial program to encourage more innovation across Europe.

The InnovFin, EU Finance for Innovators, program is just for European Union members, but Turkey is an exception as it is included in the program even through it is not part of the union, an EIB official recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“The EIB and the European Commission have launched a new generation of financial instruments to help innovative companies access finance more easily. In the framework of our new program, InnovFin, we will make available more than 24 billion euros of financing support research and innovation in Europe by 2020,” said Helen Kavvadia from the EIB during an interview.

“Turkey is the only non-EU member which is qualified to benefit from the program. We have chosen to invest in Turkey’s innovation activities, as Turkish companies have recently had a really good innovation record,” she added.

The commission and the EIB decided to launch the program in April because Europe is lagging behind some emerging regions in terms of innovation, she said, adding that the institutions aimed to provide 2 billion euros to innovative companies across Europe by the end of the year.  The EIB selected Turkey’s Tofaş, a joint venture of Fiat and Turkey’s Koç Holding, to make the first agreement in the framework of the program.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Tofaş in this breakthrough operation. We are particularly proud of this operation as it enables the EU bank to support the work of scientists whose concrete applications improve the quality of life and the environment. The operation showcases the direct intervention of the EIB and its role in supporting key R&D activities,” said Pim van Ballekom, vice-president of the EIB, in a written statement on Nov. 6.

The 55 million-euro loan to Tofaş, one of Turkey’s main car manufacturers, will finance the development and implementation of technologies designed to enhance the fuel efficiency and safety characteristics of motor vehicles, said the statement. The EIB will be providing loans and guarantees from 25 million to 300 million euros directly to European and Turkish companies to foster innovation.