ANNOUNCEMENT: Expert Investor is now PA Europe. Read more.

14 countries call on EIB to rethink defence investment

Signatories of the letter understood to include France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden


Pete Carvill

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has been urged to rethink its investment policies around financing for defence in a letter from 14 European nations.

The letter was sent to Nadia Calvino, president of the EIB, along with European Council President Charles Michel and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Despite wide reporting, however, it has not yet appeared in its entirety within the public domain.

Signatories of the letter are understood to include France, Germany, Italy and Poland as well as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Sweden. It asks for a shift in investment policy from the EIB that would move the bank away from its current stance of not investing in weapons, ammunition and military infrastructure. The bank is allowed, however, to invest in so-called ‘dual-use items’ – those for civilian and military purposes.

The letter reportedly argued: “We need to explore different possibilities that would enable the EIB to invest in defence- related activities beyond existing dual-use projects. This would mean discussing and re-evaluating current definitions of dual-use projects and the list of excluded activities as well as reconsidering its defence industry lending policy and other restrictive elements.”

Cybersecurity spending

The letter was sent against a backdrop of Russian aggression against Ukraine, which recently passed the two-year mark, and other lines of defence have also been discussed. This week, for example, Roberto Viola, director-general of the European Commission’s digital unit said the continent needed to double its investments in cybersecurity.

Speaking at a conference organised by Forum Europe in Brussels, Viola argued the bloc needed to double its investment in this area to maintain its resilience to cyberattacks. This followed the earmarking of €214m last December for investment in this area.

The actions funded by this work programme will be implemented by the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre, based in Bucharest, and fall under the auspices of the Digital Europe work programmes. These have a budget of €763m to come up with digital solutions to benefit citizens, public administrations and businesses.