The European Investment Bank, the bank of the EU, is intending to launch a €50m (£43m) social investment fund early next year, its subsidiary has confirmed.
Bjorn Tremmerie, a venture capital expert at the European Investment Fund, a subsidiary of the EIB, told Third Sector the bank would deliver the fund through the EIF, which will seek match funding from private investors to increase the fund to €100m.
The fund will carry out investment across the European Union in a similar manner to Big Society Capital in the UK, said Tremmerie.
"We will invest in intermediaries who will invest in social enterprises," he said. "We will not invest directly. We will concentrate on funds that back small and medium-sized businesses."
He said the fund would not seek to maximise profits but would aim to make a financial return.
A panel of social finance experts from institutions across Europe, convened by Euclid, a European network of third sector leaders, will also advise the European Commission on the development of a social investment strategy.
Karl Richter, adviser on social impact investment at Euclid, said the commission was hoping to develop the strategy by 2014.
"We’ve put together a platform that will bring together social investment experts from around Europe," he said. "We want to debate the key issues that the commission should be cognisant of before it draws up a strategy."