THE European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €4.1bn of new financing, including €946m to improve rail and maritime connections.

The EIB approved funding for new hydrogen and battery powered trains in the Berlin and Brandenburg region, and to reduce congestion at the Polish Baltic Sea port of Szczecin.

Funding has also been approved to upgrade the Arad - Sighisoara line in Romania to improve passenger and freight services between Hungary and Black Sea ports. The work includes resignalling and raising line speeds.

“Logistics services that enable an efficient alternative to road transport, provided by the largest private rail freight operator in Spain and Portugal, will be transformed by acquisition of new intermodal rolling stock and locomotives approved by the EIB,” the EIB says.

€1.2bn will be used to strengthen the Covid-19 pandemic recovery. Local banking partners will provide business financing agreed by the EIB to help companies in Italy, Spain and Portugal most hit by the pandemic to invest, expand and adapt their activities.

The EIB also approved €1.4bn for solar power generation in Spain, renewable energy projects in Germany, clean energy in Austria, and geothermal power in East Africa.

“The projects approved today highlight the EIB’s engagement across Europe and around the world to unlock private and public investment that addresses local priorities and global challenges,” says EIB president, Mr Werner Hoyer.