A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Walloon Region and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The agreement seeks to facilitate cooperation between the EIB and Wallonia in the hydrogen sector. This includes Walloon projects that could be eligible for EIB support in the form of financing, but also guidance and advice. The EIB generally covers up to 50% of a project’s cost through loans. This agreement strengthens the existing close ties between the EIB and Wallonia.
Kris Peeters said, “The EIB’s goal is to accelerate the transition from a carbon-intensive economy to a more sustainable and climate-resilient low-carbon economy. It is therefore fully committed to supporting this transformation through a balanced and socially just approach. This is why the EIB has decided to increase its share of financing for projects that support climate and environmental objectives to 50% by 2025. In addition to financing, the EIB provides technical and financial support to determine financing needs and improve the bankability of projects.”
According to the Walloon ministers, “Hydrogen is a vital resource for the energy transition and is a key driver of medium and long-term climate policy. When it comes to developing the potential of hydrogen, Wallonia hopes to become a major European player. This is why the region has sought out a number of hydrogen-related projects and initiatives, financed mostly through its recovery plan.”
Prior to signing the agreement with the EIB, Wallonia had already made headway in the hydrogen sector by backing a number of projects.
As an emerging sector that requires substantial financial support – the reason for the partnership with the EIB – IPCEI projects (important projects of common European interest) have already received €88 million of support from the Walloon Region through the recovery plan for Europe. The projects supported will put Wallonia on the hydrogen map in Europe and globally.
Wallonia has already made progress on the following projects: Columbus (IPCEI), John Cockerill (IPCEI), and E-WallonHY (IIS – strategic innovation initiative).
Meanwhile, Wallonia is seeking to create the conditions required to speed up the implementation of the projects and initiatives in the Walloon strategic hydrogen plan;
Further, strengthen bilateral cooperation with the EIB in order to provide the financial support and technical assistance needed to accelerate investment in the sector;
Help identify projects that are of strategic importance to the Walloon government and that may be eligible for EIB advisory support or technical assistance and/or for EIB financing;
Prepare the ground to attract private sector investment by minimising public funding and using support mechanisms to make projects bankable so that they can be implemented faster;
Invite the EIB to participate in the financing of relevant projects that cannot be covered by the Walloon regional budget;
Discuss national and regional financing programmes, the use of existing EU funds, framework loan co-financing opportunities and the possible provision of new resources to finance projects of particular strategic importance that fall within the EIB Group’s remit;
Explore ways to combine other EIB financing with regional funds (such as for the possible creation of a Walloon hydrogen fund) and with EU funds, including under the Recovery and Resilience Facility and InvestEU.