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£17.4bn EU boost for circular economy

Vella signing

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed an agreement to redistribute £17.4bn (€24bn) of existing funds to circular economy businesses.

An agreement, signed at a conference in Luxembourg, will allow companies to access credit for innovative and potentially risky business ventures.

The finance, made available through the joint EC/EIB InnovFin support programme, was previously only available to industrial and technology enterprises.

This agreement results from EIB’s recommendations in its ‘Assessment of access-to-finance conditions for projects supporting circular economy’ report.

Environment commissioner Karmenu Vella had already given some indication of how the Commission’s circular economy proposals, released on 2 December, would be financed earlier this week.

Vella said at the signing: “One week after we launched our proposal, we have a real financial commitment.

”Today’s signing of an extension of funding coverage with the EIB will help our risk-takers make that leap to a more sustainable model of production.”

Innovation commissioner Carlos Moedas said: “The circular economy has great potential to create a competitive advantage for Europe on a sustainable basis.

”I’m delighted to see that InnovFin, supported by Horizon 2020, has been improved to allow, from now on, support to circular economy projects.”

EIB president Werner Hoyer said: “We must enable the transition towards a circular economy to unlock sustainable growth without consuming more resources, or consuming them in a smarter way - our collective future and prosperity depend on that.

”We at the EIB, the EU Bank, will continue to deploy technical expertise, advisory and financial firepower in support of those investment decisions which make our economies more circular, more sustainable.”

InnovFin Advisory, a financial advice service in the EIB, will also support mid-sized businesses in making their circular economy projects ”investment ready”.

Picture, top, left to right: Jonathan Taylor, EIB vice president; Jan Vapaavuori, EIB vice president; Karmenu Vella, EC environment commissioner; Francine Closener, Luxembourg’s secretary of state to the economy. Bottom, left to right: Klaus Trömel, EIB secretary general; Wolfgang Burtscher, EC deputy director-general for research and innovation.

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