The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term lending institution, is making available up to GRD 42 billion (ECU 135.2 million) (1) for the addition of a large gas-fired combined-cycle unit to the Lavrion power plant, near Athens. Financing under this facility is expected to be signed in tranches over the construction period (1997-1998).

A first loan contract of GRD 31 billion (ECU 99,8 million) was signed in Luxembourg. For the EIB signed Mr P. Gennimatas, Vice-President, and for the Greek Public Power Corporation (PPC), Mr K. Yotopoulos, General Manager.

The new 550 MWe unit will produce "clean" electricity from gas to meet growing electricity demand in mainland Greece, contributing to the diversification of Greek and European Union energy supplies. Gas will be delivered to the new plant through the pipeline system transporting the natural gas imported from Russia, which is also financed by the EIB, as a key project included in the priority list of Trans-European Network projects (TENs) approved by the Essen European Council.

The European Investment Bank was set up by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 to provide long-term loans for capital investment furthering European Integration. Owned by the EU Member States, the Bank raises most of its resources on capital markets. In 1996 the Bank made loans totalling ECU 21.5 billion of which 700 million ECUs (GRD 217.4 billion) in Greece. EIB remains the largest single financier of TENs, having lent some ECU 33 billion for this purpose since 1993 for capital investment representing over ECU 120 billion. Examples of EIB TENs financing covers a whole variety of projects ranging from TGV systems in Northern Europe and Italy, to the Øresund link between Denmark and Sweden, and gas pipelines in Greece and between North Africa and Spain and Italy.Since the accession of Greece, the EIB has advanced ECU 1 913.5 million (GRD 594 billion) to support the improvement of the Greek transport network. The Bank has financed road and rail links along all the main transport axes of the country, such as the motorways PATHE, EGNATIA and Corinth-Tripoli, the railway line Athens-Idomeni, Athens Metro, the New Athens International Airport " Eleftherios Venizelos" and the Athens peripheral motorway. EIB finance has also gone towards improvement of interregional and regional road links, as well as the modernisation of ten regional airports and nine ports.

(1) 30/9/1997: 1 ECU = GRD 310.73.