Northern Europe is undergoing fundamental changes. Sweden and Finland entered the European Union only three years ago, and other countries in the region are now preparing for wider European integration. The Forum's objective is to analyse and widen understanding of some of the region's prospects and challenges and, more specifically, to explore and promote possibilities for further cooperation.

The EIB Forum will gather some 300 participants from all European countries. The Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson gives the opening speech, and Mr Erik Åsbrink, the Finance Minister as well as EIB Governor for Sweden, is Guest Speaker at the closing lunch.

Among the speakers at the conference are Mr Matthias Wissmann, German Federal Minister of Transport and his Polish colleague Boguslaw Liberadzki, Mr Percy Barnevik, Chairman of the ABB Group and of Investor AB, Mr Pierre Bilger, President and CEO of GEC Alsthom, Ms Laima Andrikenè, the Lithuanian Minister of European Affairs, Mr Willem K. Scholten, Chairman, Rotterdam Municipal Port Management as well as Mr Paul Hohnen, Director at Greenpeace International.

A number of EIB loan contracts are due to be signed for projects in the Nordic as well as Central and Eastern European countries during the Forum.

New tasks for the EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, provides finance for capital investment furthering the European Union's balanced development. Owned by the Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets where its bond issues have the highest possible credit rating (AAA).

The EIB will at the Employment Summit to be held by the Heads of State in November in Luxembourg present a full report on new measures to step up the financing of efficient infrastructure, extend support for technology related and high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises and extend the Bank's activities in the labour intensive areas of education and health.