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POLAND: EIB to lend Poland €1 billion

The European Investment Bank has announced that Poland will receive almost 1 billion euro for the development of strategic projects in energy as well as science and research. The sum will be divided into three loans. 250 million will go to the state-owned energy company Energa in order to upgrade and expand electricity distribution networks, especially in the northern and central parts of the country. This will significantly increase the networks’ profitability, as they are often disrupted due to weather or wear and tear. 730 million will be split between two loans meant for boosting innovation in universities, science institutes, and research enterprises. The Deputy Development Minister Witold Słowik stated that in the next few years, Poland will want to increase R&D spending to 2% of the GDP, from the current level of 1%. Indeed, it has been the PiS government’s plan to increase ties between science and business, but Polish academic institutions have lagged behind. The funding comes as a part of the EU Infrastructure Investment Plan, commonly known as the Juncker Plan, which is projected to unlock at least 315 billion euro of investments in the 2015-2017 period across the European Union.