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Blue economy takes centre stage in new European Investment Fund initiative

Focusing on the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs


Pete Carvill

The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have announced a dedicated equity initiative for the blue economy under the body’s InvestEU programme.

Defined by the World Bank as ‘the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health’, the blue economy will see investment of up to €500m, according to an EC statement. The name of the programme is BlueInvest and it is slated to continue until 2026.

The EC said that the initiative had already, over the past three years, been ‘highly successful’ in getting ‘hundreds of SMEs coached and matched with investors’. A large number of financing deals had been signed as a result, said the EC, strengthening the investment landscape in this sector.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner, said in a statement: “The first phase of the platform acted as an accelerator to foster innovation and investment in sustainable technologies for the blue economy. To further deepen and scale up these activities, we are now launching the second stage of BlueInvest. This will provide an even better service to European SMEs and investors, and more impact to support the European Green Deal objectives.”

BlueInvest sits under the umbrella of the InvestEU Fund. The EC said that fund aims to mobilise more than €372bn of public and private investment through an EU budget guarantee of €26.2bn that backs the investment of implementing partners such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and other financial institutions.

Expert Investor has written before about the InvestEU program since it was announced earlier this month.

The original announcement said that the guarrantee agreement was signed by the EC, the European Investment Bank, and the EIF, and guaranteed funding of €20bn for investment projects across the continent.

According to the EC, there will be €19.65bn of funding to support work in four policy areas: research, innovation and digitisation; small and medium-sized businesses; and social investment and skills. The EC and the EIB have also signed an agreement known as the InvestEU Advisory Hub that will provide up to €270m in funding for market development, which it says will develop skills and advisory services in the same policy areas.

InvestEU consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub, and the InvestEU Portal. By providing a €26.2bn EU budgetary guarantee to support finance and investment operations, the InvestEU programme hopes to attract public and private financing aiming to mobilise at least €372bn in additional investment by 2027.