The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) currently has four members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
EFTA is the EU’s third-largest trading partner and the four EFTA nations are widely known for their developed economies, as well as their geographic, political or cultural proximity to the European Union.
The EIB in action
The Bank has supported projects in the four EFTA-countries since the 1970s. The EIB’s lending to these geographies was put in a legal framework with the establishment of the EIB’s EFTA Loan Facility in 1994. Since then, some 55 EIB-projects for a total of €4,251m have been signed under the Facility. Norway is the Bank’s biggest EFTA market (56% of signatures) followed by Iceland with 24% of signatures.
Projects in which the EIB is involved are financed from the Bank’s own resources and must meet the same eligibility criteria, and follow the same procedures, as operations within the European Union.
Our role in the EFTA regions is to support climate action, urban transport, infrastructure and technology.
The EFTA Facility is not subdivided into pro rata totals for each country. In December 2021, the EIB Board of Governors approved an additional EUR 800m investment envelope was agreed which will bring total EIB-investments in the EFTA countries to approximately €5.9 billion by the end of 2025.
Most planned projects are located in Norway, with a further very climate-relevant pipeline for Iceland. All future projects contribute directly to the Bank’s primary lending objectives in terms of climate change mitigation.
In Norway, operations that advance clean urban transport and sustainable mobility help tackle climate change and meet climate action targets. A substantial part of lending activities in Norway includes the NordLink interconnector, which will connect Norway and Germany across the North Sea, a major step towards a more climate friendly and integrated energy system.
In Iceland, the EIB supports projects related to green energy. We have helped Landsvirkjun, the National Power Company of Iceland, to finance a new geothermal power station and Reykjavik Energy Geothermal to expand two geothermal power plants. We have also signed projects to support medical technology and infrastructure, helping support the Icelandic economy as well as safeguard employment during the COVID-19 crisis.
In Switzerland, the latest envisaged operation are aimed at supporting various investments and Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) expenditure to reduce carbon footprint. The Bank also maintains contacts with various potential partners, in particular with innovative corporations that could qualify for the InnovFin initiative.- Read less