The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing four global loans (credit lines) totalling EUR 150 million(1) to partner banks operating in the Baltic States, Poland and Slovakia. The banks will use the long-term funds for financing small and medium-scale projects in the fields of industry, services, tourism, infrastructure, environmental protection and energy saving.

The global loans are going to:

  • Kredyt Bank S.A, a member of the KBC Bank & Insurance Group, EUR 50 million for onlending to smaller schemes in Poland, as well as in Lithuania.
  • Citibank (Slovakia) a.s., EUR 20 million to finance small and medium-scale projects in Slovakia.
  • Citibank, EUR 50 million for lending to smaller-scale schemes in Poland.
  • The Hansabank group in the Baltic States, EUR 30 million for financing small projects in Estonia, as well as Latvia and Lithuania.

These four global loans bring total EIB lending to SMEs and small infrastructure projects in Central Europe to more than EUR 1.5 billion (13 percent of total lending since 1990). In the EU, about one third of EIB lending is provided in the form of global loans. The Bank intends to further widen this form of cooperation with the banking sector in the candidate countries.

The EU's Accession Partnership Agreements foresee financial support to help the candidate countries develop their small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) and comply with EU environmental standards. In Central Europe, as in the Member Countries, the EIB finances large projects with direct loans and smaller schemes by means of global loans. At present, some forty partner banks in the region have such arrangements with the EIB.

The new loans bring EIB financing in Poland to over EUR 3 billion, in the Slovak Republic to nearly EUR 1 billion and in the three Baltic States to almost EUR 600 million.

The EIB was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to lend to projects furthering European Union policies. While strengthening weaker EU regions has always been its main goal, the Bank also lends to projects outside the European Union under the Union's co-operation policy toward third countries. Between 1990 and 1999, some EUR 11 billion were lent to projects in the ten Central European countries which have applied for EU membership. Owned by the Member States, the EIB raises the bulk of its funds on the capital markets worldwide where its bond issues regularly benefit from the Bank's `AAA' credit rating.

(1) 1 EUR = 0.632300 GBP; 4.18350 PLN; 42.6408 SKK.