Athens/Luxembourg, 29 April 2014
EIB Group and Hellenic Republic join forces in further support of SME funding
The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) signed today in Athens a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hellenic Republic concerning the contribution of the EIB to the “Institution for Growth in Greece” (IfG). The IfG aims to promote growth, innovation and employment through the provision of short and long-term debt and equity capital to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as smaller infrastructure projects necessary to enhance competitiveness in key selected sectors of the Greek economy.
The agreement was signed by Kostis Hatzidakis, Minister of Development and Competitiveness, for the Hellenic Republic, and Werner Hoyer, EIB President, for the EIB Group, in the presence of Minister of Finance Yannis Stournaras.
EIB President Werner Hoyer, who is visiting Greece for the fourth time in the last six months, said: “This agreement underpins our strong commitment to Greece. As the EU bank, we are natural partners in the country’s recovery efforts, for which we provide continuous and effective support. We are determined to enhance our cooperation with the Hellenic Republic, other European development finance institutions and private investors in further assisting recovery in Greece. Our cooperation, based on our comparative advantages, will help to avoid duplication of resources and maximise the impact for the benefit of the Greek citizens. We are ready to provide additional support to Greek small and medium-sized enterprises through the IfG, subject to satisfactory due diligence by the EIB of the IfG business plan upon reception from the Greek authorities.”
The “Institution for Growth in Greece” will be established as a non-bank finance institute addressing the need to overcome existing temporary and structural funding gaps in the Greek economy. The IfG is being launched at the initiative of the Hellenic Republic, with the guidance and support of KfW Development Bank of Germany, the EIB Group and other investors.
This agreement is the result of cooperation and consultation between the parties, as the EIB Group has been part of the efforts to establish the IfG since first receiving the proposal of the Hellenic authorities in 2012.
EIB activity in Greece has remained strong with a total of EUR 9bn since the start of the crisis in 2008. With an exposure of almost EUR 17bn corresponding to around 9% of Greek GDP the overall engagement of the EIB remains outstanding. Investments into infrastructure alone in Greece amount to around EUR 14bn. Furthermore, the EIB has consistently supported a greater share of investments in Greece than on average in the EU, with qualitative reach to decisive sectors such as SMEs. To assist Greek SMEs, EIB funding has enabled EUR 700m to be allocated to SMEs during the crisis period, to the benefit of a total of some 5 000 SMEs in a variety of economic sectors in metropolitan areas as well as the periphery. The EIB demonstrates its steady and broad support in Greece by providing a higher volume of finance (in 2013 lending tripled to a total of EUR 1.47bn, from EUR 550m in 2012), but also by introducing new products such as the new Trade Finance Facility, the SME Guarantee Fund, the provision of funds to SMEs for “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth”, as well as by the EIB’s contribution signed today for the establishment of the “Institution for Growth in Greece”.
These new products use the EIB’s catalytic role in order to optimise synergies with other funding sources so as to achieve increased impact and attract more private investment.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
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