Workers supervise the pouring of cement in the construction zone of what becam the world's largest ship lock, the Deurganckdock lock, in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sept. 20, 2013. Europe's insurers and pension funds are complaining that they're being restricted from investing in similar infrastructure projects. (Photo: AP/Virginia Mayo)

(Bloomberg) — Europe’s pensions and insurers, seeking returns in infrastructure deals after asset purchases by the European Central Bank gutted yields on bonds, say they’re being crowded out again.

Their frustration is directed at the European Investment Bank (EIB), a public lender tasked with attracting private money to help finance construction projects like London’s transport network or a giant lock in a Belgian harbor. The bank, owned by European Union governments, provides guarantees and junior debt to make investment less risky, which is great for private investors. But the EIB has another role — keeping financing costs affordable for taxpayers — and that’s where public and private interests start to clash.

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