(Bloomberg) -- European Union finance ministers plan to discuss the future of the European Investment Bank this week as geopolitical tensions push the bloc to bolster security.

Officials have been asked to contemplate whether the EIB should play a larger role in EU policy priorities, according to a briefing note for their Feb. 23-24 informal meeting in Ghent, Belgium, seen by Bloomberg.

Additionally, EIB President Nadia Calvino is expected to outline her vision along nine priorities – in full alignment with EU policies — including “stepping up investments in security and defense,” the document shows.

The EU is looking to jump-start its defense industry after years of underspending following the Cold War. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made boosting security capabilities a key focus of her bid for a second term.

While some officials — including French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel — have suggested joint borrowing could be used for this, tapping the EIB has also been proposed.

Von der Leyen said in November that “it is time to finally move ahead” to enhance the EIB’s support for defense despite the potential concerns among investors that such a step could spark.

“We are looking at how the defense industry’s contribution to the security of the Union can be better recognized by sustainable financial investors,” she said.

The EU lender in 2022 decided to back the technology sector and civilian-security infrastructure through its Strategic European Security Initiative, which made funding available for dual-use projects with a chiefly civilian purpose.

But unlike goods with both civilian and military use, weapons and ammunition are currently on a list of excluded activities and aren’t eligible for financing.

The Luxembourg-based EIB has said it won’t cave in to pressure to invest in defense. And a key advisory group to the bloc’s executive, the Platform for Sustainable Finance, has recommended against including defense assets in the EU’s social taxonomy.

Calvino, who took up her role in January, has instead highlighted an increasingly important EIB role in financing the reconstruction of Ukraine. 

It’s not just Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, which borders the EU, that’s causing the bloc to fret. Geopolitical worries also include the war in Gaza, attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and an increasingly tense relationship between the US and China.

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