InvestEU: EIF and UniCredit sign agreements to channel €1 billion to small businesses across seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe

    Date: 10 May 2023
  • The EIF will provide two guarantees worth around €370 million to UniCredit Group to finance approximately €1 billion of investment made by small businesses in seven countries across Central and Eastern Europe.
  • These agreements were made possible with the support of the InvestEU programme. Up to 2 500 small businesses and small mid-caps are expected to benefit from increased access to finance.
  • The EIF-UniCredit agreements aim to boost funding for the fields of sustainability, innovation, digitalisation, culture, creativity, education and social investments.

The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the EIB Group, is providing UniCredit Group with two guarantees worth €370 million to boost investment made by small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across seven EU countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The transactions are backed by InvestEU, the European Union’s long-term funding programme to support sustainable investment, innovation and job creation in Europe aiming to mobilise at least €372 billion in investments for EU policy priorities by 2027.

The EIF guarantees backed by InvestEU will enable UniCredit to provide loans on favourable conditions to 2 500 SMEs and small mid-caps across Europe and mobilise investment of around €1 billion into the real economy. The resources will primarily go towards to investment contributing to the twin green and digital transition, but also to boost the cultural, educational and social sectors.

As part of UniCredit’s green lending strategy, loans will also be provided to housing associations and individuals for their own renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in residential buildings, as well as to promote the development of sustainable mobility.

“The excellent relationship between the EIB Group and UniCredit Group is key to reaching as many small businesses as possible across Central and Eastern Europe, ensuring they have the resources needed to invest in a brighter, more sustainable, and innovative future,” said Chair of the EIF Gelsomina Vigliotti. “This operation once again shows the EIF's commitment to facilitating access to finance for Europe's 23 million SMEs, which represent 99% of all businesses and provide around three-quarters of all jobs in the European Union.”

European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said: “InvestEU is a key instrument for supporting SMEs and small mid-caps across Europe. Thanks to this agreement, businesses in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will be able to accelerate their transition towards a greener and more digital economy, for instance with investments in the energy efficiency of residential buildings. We are proud to provide the necessary support to businesses in these countries to achieve this goal and create jobs.”

UniCredit CEO Andrea Orcel added: “Providing sustainable finance to fuel social investments and innovation is a critical aspect of our pledge to improve the social aspect of environmental, social and governance in any way we can. In the last ten years, our work with EIB Group has enabled easier access to financing for more than 12 000 small and mid-sized businesses in Central and Eastern Europe. Our firm presence and local networks in the region meant that we, in strategic partnership with the EIF and the EIB Group, received the region’s biggest allocation of InvestEU guarantee capacity. This will enable us to provide even more for clients as we continuously strive to fulfil our purpose of empowering communities to progress.” 

Background information

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is a financial institution part of the European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group). Its main mission is to support European micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by supporting their access to finance and venture capital. The EIF is also active in supporting climate and infrastructure fund investments with a strong focus on environmental sustainability. In this role, the EIF pursues the objectives of the European Union to support innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with crucial long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable recovery. It also helps mobilise private investments for the European Union’s policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal and the digital transition. The InvestEU programme brings together under one roof the multitude of EU financial instruments currently available to support investment in the European Union, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible. The programme consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners that will invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. The entire budget guarantee will back the investment projects of the implementing partners, increase their risk-bearing capacity and thus mobilise at least €372 billion in additional investment.

UniCredit is a pan-European commercial bank with a unique service offering in Italy, Germany, and Central and Eastern Europe. Our purpose is to empower communities to progress, delivering the best-in-class for all stakeholders, unlocking the potential of our clients and our people across Europe. We serve over 15 million customers worldwide. They are at the heart of what we do in all our markets. UniCredit is organised in four core regions and two product factories: Corporate and Individual Solutions. This allows us to be close to our clients and use the scale of the entire group for developing and offering the best products across all our markets. Digitalisation and our commitment to environmental, social and governance principles are key enablers for our service. They help us deliver excellence to our stakeholders and create a sustainable future for our clients, communities and people.

Press contacts

EIF: Lorenzo Squintani,, tel.: +39 366 57 90 312
Website: — Press Office: +352 4379 21000 —   

European Commission: Flora MATTHAES
Tel.: +32 229 83951 - Email:

UniCredit Group: Media Relations

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