Prague/Luxembourg, 08 May 2009
EIB welcomes call to support SMEs in Eastern Partnership countries
The President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Philippe Maystadt stated after the Eastern Partnership Launch Summit in Prague yesterday that: “The EIB stands ready to contribute to the development of the Eastern Partnership by financing sustainable investment projects. In this context, we welcome the joint declaration of this Summit inviting the EIB to start working on investment support for SMEs in the Eastern Partnership Countries. Such support is vital for sustainable economic development and our lending activities will improve SMEs’ access to long-term finance, which is particularly important in this time of financial crisis.”
The EIB already finances projects in the Eastern Partnership countries on the basis of an EU Council mandate with a regional ceiling of EUR 3.7 billion (also covering operations in Russia) for the period 2007-2013. Financing is available for projects of significant interest to the EU in transport, energy, telecommunications and environmental infrastructure. Now the EIB has been invited together with the EBRD and other IFIs operating in the region, to start providing loans also to the SME sector in the Eastern Partnership countries.
The EIB currently finances large investment projects in the region in close cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), on the basis of a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the EIB, EBRD and European Commission in December 2006. For some projects, co-financing by the EIB and EBRD is complemented by other IFIs, such as the Nordic Investment Bank and the World Bank.
EIB loans for SMEs would enable it to support investment for any amount ranging from very small projects to investments costing up to EUR 25 million. The EIB supports SME projects indirectly via partner financing institutions operating in the individual countries. These financial institutions are responsible for evaluating each loan application submitted by an SME.
The European Investment Bank (EIB), founded in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Community, is the European Union's bank for financing investments that further European integration. The main objective of the EIB is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States.
The EIB has already provided loans in the Eastern Partnership countries amounting to EUR 400 million financing projects in the areas of the environment, transport and energy infrastructure. Furthermore the EIB currently has a portfolio of operations at the appraisal stage (subject to satisfactory completion of EIB due diligence and EIB Board approval) plus approved operations at the negotiation stage totalling nearly EUR 1 billion in the Eastern Partnership countries.
Projects financed to-date by the European Investment Bank in the Eastern Partnership countries: