The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved EUR750m (US$1.02bn) in loans to European Union carmakers to invest in environment-friendly technologies.

The money is part of a EUR7bn package for the European auto industry which the bank expects lend in the first half of this year. It has already announced nearly EUR 5.2 bn of aid and more is coming.

Ford will receive EUR400m for its new operations in Romania and EUR200m for research and development in Germany. DAF Trucks in Holland will get the remaining EUR 150m, also for research and development.

Last month the EIB approved EUR866m in loans to several automakers, including Volkswagen, Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover.

The loans are part of a EUR 30bn increase in EIB lending in 2009-2010 approved last year by EU finance ministers and leaders.