A Framework Agreement was signed between the State of Israel and the European Investment Bank (EIB) by Minister of Foreign Affairs David Levy and EIB President, Philippe Maystadt on 13th June 2000 in Luxembourg.

Under this Agreement the EIB, the European Union's financing institution, will be able to finance projects in Israel. The Agreement with Israel is within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which aims at promoting long-term growth and stability in the countries concerned. The gradual establishment of a free trade area between the Union and the Mediterranean partner countries up to the year 2010 should lay the foundations for closer economic integration between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Under the current Euro-Med Lending Mandate, the EIB is to lend up to EUR 6 425 million(1) during the period 2000-2006(2).

The Agreement defines the general conditions for EIB lending. The EIB will finance capital investment projects which will contribute to further support the country's economic base and which satisfy the Bank's usual lending criteria.

Commenting, Philippe Maystadt said: " The signing of the Agreement with Israel demonstrates the desire of the European Union and the EIB to make an active contribution towards fostering a Euro-Mediterranean partnership in a practical way. While paying close heed to the technical, economic and financial quality of projects, the Bank will be concerned to ensure that the capital investment it supports benefits first and foremost the people of the region. In cooperation with the Government and other authorities, we look forward to preparing and mounting individual investment projects which could be supported with EIB loans ".

(1) 1 EUR: 0.971400 USD; 3.91668 ILS; 0.613400 GBP.

(2) The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was adopted by the European Union (EU) and 12 Mediterranean partner countries with the Declaration of Barcelona on 28 November 1995. The first EIB Euro-Med Lending Mandate providing for loans up to EUR 2 310 million was fully committed by the Bank over the period 1997-1999 in favour of some 65 different investment projects in the Mediterranean partner countries.