The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing ILUNION with EUR 35 million in financing with the objective of creating jobs for people with disabilities and investing in improving energy efficiency.   This is the first loan made by the EIB to a social economy enterprise in Spain and it is receives the backing of the Investment Plan for Europe, known as the ‘Juncker Plan’.

The agreement was signed in Brussels today by Vice-President of the EIB, Emma Navarro, and President of ILUNION, Alberto Durán, during a ceremony attended by Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, and President of the ONCE Group, Miguel Carballeda. 

ILUNION is one of the enterprises from the social economy enterprise ONCE Group, Spain’s largest employer of people with disabilities. The EIB funding under the Juncker Plan will provide the financing necessary to enable the group to implement its investment plan until 2021. These investments concern the renovation of the group’s chain of industrial laundrettes to incorporate more energy-efficient technologies, the construction of a new hotel in Spain and the renovation of existing hotels, and the development of a range of devices to improve the lives of persons with any type of disability. All of these measures share a single objective: to promote the employment of people with disabilities. The project will, in fact, make it possible to create 200 new permanent jobs plus a further 725 during the implementation phase.

Since the mid-1990s, EFC member Fundación ONCE has worked with the EFC on an array of projects and programmes revolving around the area of disabilities. The Spanish foundation is a driving member of the EFC’s Disability Thematic Network, an open forum for philanthropic organisations to exchange, learn and connect about any issue related to disability with an eye to mainstreaming disability within their work and programmes.

The Investment Plan for Europe, known as the ‘Juncker Plan’, is one of the European Commission’s key priorities. It aims to mobilise investment to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan and provides a first-loss guarantee, which means that the EIB is able to invest in projects that are often associated with a higher risk. Based on the projects and agreements approved so far, the EFSI is set to trigger more than EUR 344 billion in investments and support around 787,000 SMEs in the 28 Member States.

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