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European Investment Bank proposes new fund to counter US green subsidies - Spiegel

FILE PHOTO: Flags are seen behind the logo of the EIB pictured in the city of Luxembourg

BERLIN (Reuters) -The European Investment Bank could set up a new fund to counter subsidies offered by the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which pressure companies to move their production there, its president said in an interview published on Tuesday.

Werner Hoyer told German news magazine Der Spiegel a fund set up to help companies stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic could serve as a model for a fund to help safeguard European industry.

A capital increase for the bank would not be necessary for the creation of the fund, which would be used to promote technologies and industries that give Europe a competitive advantage, but financial guarantees would have to be provided by either the European Union or member states, he added.

"We hear from many of our corporate clients that they are under a lot of pressure to move their production and especially their development departments to the U.S.," Hoyer said.

"In principle, every investment project that has not yet received final approval is currently being put to the test."

Volkswagen-owned Audi said last week that it may build a factory in the U.S. in light of Washington's scheme, the latest company to consider investments in the region to take advantage of the subsidies it offers.

The European Commission earlier this month proposed allowing increased levels of state aid so that Europe can compete with the United States. Part of the plan includes a re-purposing of existing EU funds, faster approval of green projects and drives to boost skills and to seal trade agreements to secure supplies of critical raw materials.

The $430-billion act was passed by U.S. Congress last August and offers subsidies and tax incentives for a swathe of domestically produced green industry products.

(Writing by Friederike Heine and Miranda Murray, Editing by Rachel More and Tomasz Janowski)