The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution will cooperate with Bank Handlowy w Warszawie S.A. in the financing of small-medium scale projects in Poland. Under this cooperation, Bank Handlowy will gain access to funds from an EIB global loan of ECU 100 million(1) for financing industry, tourism and infrastructure projects in Poland.

Bank Handlowy is the first domestic bank to participate in the scheme, which already includes five affiliates in Poland of EU-based banks: ABN AMRO (Polska), Bank Creditanstalt, ING-Bank (Warsaw Branch), Raiffeisen Centrobank and Deutsche Bank Polska.

The EIB's ECU 100 million facility is expected to help Polish and foreign project promoters to bridge their needs for long-term funds and the scarce local supply of adequate resources. Indirectly it will also contribute to the competitiveness of Polish enterprises, and help develop the country's infrastructure.

The cooperation agreement with Bank Handlowy was signed recently in Warsaw. Commenting the cooperation with Bank Handlowy, Vice President Roth said that the provision of long-term foreign currency funds to a larger number of competing intermediaries including domestic banks with a well established branch network will improve considerably the financing possibilities offered to promoters of projects in Poland and helps prepare the Polish economy for EU membership.

Global loans to suitable financial intermediaries for the financing of SMEs and small infrastructure projects has been a traditional instrument of the European Investment Bank both in the Member States and in associated countries.

(1) Conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 31/12/1996, when 1 ECU = 3.56 zloty, 1.95 DEM, 1.25 USD.