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    EIB President Werner Hoyer participated in the Global Forum Spain in Bilbao on 3 March, along with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. Supporting Europe’s SMEs is the order of the day.

    EIB President Werner Hoyer reiterated and underlined the importance of SMEs and Mid-Caps in Europe at the Global Forum Spain: from stability to growth on 3 March. Sharing a panel with Portuguese Finance Minister María Luís Alburquerque, President Hoyer said “I am convinced that we won’t achieve a sustainable recovery unless we create the right environment to give SMEs room to flourish and innovate.”

    He also highlighted the role of the EIB Group in supporting SMEs through the crisis, stressing that “without much improved access to finance, SMEs are not able to invest in the modernisation of their business.”

    As part of his session, Hoyer mentioned that the EIB Group finance for SMEs in 2013 reached a record total of EUR 22bn, allowing the Bank to mobilise over EUR 50bn in support of SMEs and Mid-Caps, when private investment was also taken into account.

    Altogether, 230 000 SMEs employing 2.8m people in Europe received EIB support in the last year.

    Also present and speaking at the Global Forum were Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Spanish Minister for the Economy Luis de Guindos, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria and EU Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht, amongst others.