The EU-owned European Investment Bank (EIB) today announced that it is handing Oxford University a £200 million loan – its largest ever single loan to a European university. The money will be spent on new facilities and on refurbishing existing ones, including scientific research laboratories and libraries.
Owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States, the bank states its central aim as being to work closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy. Last year, the university was handed a total of £108 million in funding, according to the EU’s financial transparency portal, calling into serious question any claims to impartiality ahead of next year’s referendum on a British exit from the European Union.
According to its website: “The EIB maintains close working ties with the other members of the family of EU institutions in pursuit of the Community’s objectives, most importantly :fostering European integration and the balanced development of the Union and supporting the Union’s development aid and cooperation policies towards some 140 countries throughout the world.
“Such cooperation enables the Bank to coordinate its operations with those of the other institutions, while preserving its independence and its own decision-making procedures as provided for in the European Treaties.”
The new EIB support was announced during a visit to Oxford University by Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the European Investment Bank where he was welcomed by Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Andrew Hamilton. He also met with students and staff involved in the new buildings.
Thanking the bank for its investment, Professor Hamilton, said: “The European Investment Bank has shown a great understanding of our on-going investment plans for highly-advanced buildings and equipment. Their support now gives us greater freedom to progress our vision of a continually-evolving campus, enabling world-leading academics to tackle the great research challenges of the 21st Century.”
Mr Taylor, said. “Investment in research facilities and teaching is essential to unlocking new ideas and scientific discoveries and the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting investment at leading universities across Europe. The new loan will strengthen research and learning across a broad range of disciplines here in Oxford and ensure that the university continues to be at the forefront of global research.”
The mammoth loan represents just a small fraction of the bank’s investment in British universities, however. According to a spokesman for the bank: “Over the last decade the EIB has provided nearly €10 billion for long-term investment in higher education across Europe. The United Kingdom is the largest beneficiary of EIB university lending and in the last 5 years the EIB has provided £1.45 billion for investment in twenty universities across the country.”
The loan is in addition to the millions already spent by the EU in research grant funding and other spending items with Oxford University calling into doubt the validity of any Brexit claims.
The vast amount of funding is already paying off: Oxford University Press has published a series of books which it markets as the “definitive textbooks on the major aspects of EU politics and integration as studied at undergraduate level.” The books promote the EU as “the most successful modern experiment in international cooperation.”