Support for the digital economy is key to boosting technological innovation and services and essential to driving productivity growth.
In line with the main goals of the EU’s Digital Agenda, the EIB is committed to supporting Europe’s growing data traffic by investing in high-speed internet, mobile networks and cloud computing. We therefore provide finance and technical expertise for projects that further these ambitions.
The digital economy is a key sector in which technological innovation and services can be boosted, as well an essential driver of productivity growth. For this reason, in line with the main goals of the EU’s Digital Agenda, the EIB is committed to supporting Europe’s growing data traffic, by investing in high-speed internet, mobile networks and cloud computing. We therefore provide finance and technical expertise for projects that further these ambitions.
Almost all aspects of everyday life and business are becoming increasingly digital. That is why broadband networks, software development, cyber security and innovative digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain are priority areas for the EIB. The smart use of green digital technologies can also serve as a key enabler for climate action and environmental sustainability. They can help to better allocate resources, reduce emissions and pollution, and prevent biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.
In 2021, the EIB supported small business, startups and larger companies as well as the public sector to drive digitalisation and innovation in the EU and beyond. Our financing helped to boost new digital business models, connected 3.5 million households to fixed fibre and enabled 6.8 million subscriptions for 5G services.
Projects eligible for financing
We finance digital economy projects involving various aspects of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, equipment, services, applications, research and development. Examples include:
Mobile, TV broadcasting and transmission networks that enable national or international connectivity through high-capacity fibre-optic cables, satellites or submarine cables outside the EU
Data centre facilities and hosted services such as cloud computing
Manufacturing of handsets, network equipment, software, audio-visual equipment, displays (e.g., LCD) and chips (nano- and microelectronics)
ICT applications for the automotive, electricity and healthcare industries
Public services, such as e-government, e-health and e-business
Deep tech innovation in smart connected technologies
Deep tech innovation in smart connected technologies: A comparative analysis of SMEs in Europe and the United States aims to guide policymakers, industry and the broader public by providing a comprehensive analysis of small and medium-sized firms that have been developing fourth industrial revolution technology over the past decade. It focuses on technologically advanced businesses that have actively patented these technologies, as opposed to small businesses that are simply making use of these advances.
Using data collected from a survey of 625 small and medium firms, the study provides decision-makers in the public and private sectors, as well as investors, with insights into the specific challenges facing technologically innovative firms in Europe.
Artificial intelligence, blockchain and the future of Europe
Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are two of the most significant disruptive technologies of our time, set to have a major impact on future societies and economies. But the European Union accounts only for 7% of annual equity investments in both technologies, while the US and China together account for 80%. However, the EU excels in research and has the largest pool of digital talents.
A new report conducted by the EIB and the European Commission recommends that Europe step up its efforts to address the €10 billion investment gap that is holding back development and deployment of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies in the EU.