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EIB To Offer SME Loans For EU’s Eastern Neighbours

The new facility to enable EIB support SMEs and energy and environmental projects in the region to the tune of E25 million

The European Investment Bank, the bank of the European Union (EU), is launching a lending facility via other financial institutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU’s eastern neighbours. The Eastern Partnership is a new framework for cooperation between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

Until now, the EIB has been able to offer its SME loans product only to banks within the EU, Western Balkans and pre-accession countries. Reportedly, the EIB’s decision to expand geographic coverage follows a request made at the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit held in Prague in May.

The new facility will enable EIB to support via partner banks in the region investments by SMEs and energy and environmental projects costing up to E25 million. EIB is already in talks with a number of state-owned development banks in the region as well as EU banks with subsidiaries in the region with a view to concluding the first loan agreements.

EIB Philippe Maystadt, president of EIB, said: “This is an important addition to the action we are taking with other international financial institutions to help stabilise lending to the real economy in central and eastern Europe. We hope to be able to conclude our first loan under the new facility before year end. We have moved swiftly to implement the joint action plan and now expect to exceed our 11 billion euro target. Up until today, we have signed loans totalling E6.3 billion and disbursed some 1.7 billion euro in credits to SMEs.”