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The European Investment Bank (EIB) was set up in 1958 under the terms of the Treaty of Rome. Based in Luxembourg, it is the European Union’s bank, lending to projects that contribute to growth and employment within Europe.

The EIB is owned and controlled by the EU member states, and 91% of its lending has gone to countries within the EU. However, it does also back projects that are outside the EU, so long as they are economically sound and in line with the Bank’s policy goals.

The Bank leverages capital paid in by its members to raise money on international bond markets at low rates, and lends out this money to projects. It chooses the projects to lend to based on the priorities of the EU, with decisions taken by a Board of Directors nominated by the EU member states.

The UK has paid in €3.5 billion in capital to the EIB (16% of the total), which will be returned to the UK now that it has left the EU. Since the Bank’s founding, projects in the UK have received €119 billion in loans, 8.1% of the total lent.

Now that the UK has left the EU, it is no longer part of the Bank’s governance and is not eligible for loans on the same terms as when it was an EU member state. Some of the debates about the UK’s relationship with the EIB have been settled as part of the Withdrawal Agreement, but discussions continue about what any ongoing relationship with the Bank would look like, whether projects in the UK will continue to receive loans, and whether the UK could create its own replacement for the Bank.

The European Investment Fund, an offshoot of the EIB partly owned by private financial institutions, supports small and medium-sized enterprises throughout Europe by providing risk financing (for example, by backing venture capital firms). Its funding of UK venture capital has slowed since the UK’s vote to leave the EU, although potential replacements have been mooted by the UK Government.

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