During a visit today to the European Investment Bank, Mr Konstantinos Simitis, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, was welcomed by Sir Brian Unwin, EIB President, and Mr Panagiotis Gennimatas, Vice-President.

In the course of their discussions, Mr Simitis, Sir Brian Unwin and Mr Gennimatas reviewed EIB activity in Greece and measures recently taken by the Bank as part of its strategy of preparing for economic and monetary union, including a debt issuance programme for a total of GRD 200 billion, to be signed in Athens at the end of May with the National Investment Bank for Industrial Development (ETEBA), which is arranging the programme, as well as with a group of Greece's leading banks.

In 1994, the EIB, the world's largest borrower, launched the first-ever issue on the "marathon" market for GRD-denominated foreign bonds. The Bank has now raised a total of GRD 85 billion in this compartment of the Greek capital market.

Since the country's accession to the European Union in 1981, the EIB has provided vigorous support for Greece's development and economic integration at EU level : aggregate financing of GRD 1 195 billion (ECU 6 billion) has been advanced by the Bank to underpin extensive efforts to modernise both infrastructure and industry.

The EIB, the European Union's financing institution, was set up in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome to furnish loans for public and private-sector capital investment promoting the balanced development of the Union. The EIB raises its resources on the capital markets, where its issues are consistently awarded the highest credit rating ("AAA").