By the end of 2020, €5.4 billion of financing from this fund had been approved, which was agreed in April last year by the European Union (EU) states as part of the emergency measures package in the face of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, but which only started in the Autumn.

"It took some time to get it up and running, but at the end of the year we had about 6 billion Euros. We expect about 50 billion Euros in the next six months and this is increasing very quickly and efficiently", said the president of the EIB, Werner Hoyer, at a press conference to present the annual results of the EU public bank.

The fund operates with €25 billion in guarantees provided by EU countries, allowing the EIB to finance Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) or mid-cap companies in difficulties due to covid-19, either directly or through intermediaries, such as funds from investment banks or national promotion banks.

The EIB's goal is to attract additional financing from private sources with a view to mobilszing a total of 200 billion Euros.

The bank predicts that 20 percent of this funding will be in form of capital or equity, as it is estimated that European SMEs will face a capital deficit of 720 billion Euros as a result of the pandemic, explained Alain Godard, executive director of the European Fund Investment Bank, the arm of the EIB group for SMEs.

Following the liquidity problems experienced at the beginning of the pandemic, many companies, and in particular SMEs, will go into liquidation, said the official.

Due to the pandemic, the group increased funding to SMEs by 5,000 million Euros in 2020, to 30,600 million Euros.