Mr Michel Barnier, European Commissioner with responsibility for regional policy, and Mr Panagiotis Gennimatas, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), signed today at the Bank's headquarters in Luxembourg a cooperation agreement between the European Commission and the EIB. This agreement gives effect to the decisions taken by the EU Heads of State or Government and approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Its purpose is to increase the effectiveness of the Community's structural operations and strengthen the complementarity between these and the Bank's operations over the period 2000-2006.

On this occasion, Mr Barnier met the EIB's President, Mr Philippe Maystadt. Both stressed the importance which they attach to good cooperation between the two institutions and the complementarity of their respective activities.

For the new programming period for structural operations, the agreement provides for the strengthening of cooperation between the Commission and the Bank. The Commission will be able to draw on the EIB's know-how for evaluating projects eligible for financing under the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) within the Union and ISPA (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession) within the candidate countries, as well as under the Cohesion Fund as is already the case(1).

In respect of all of these funds, the Commission and the EIB will regularly exchange information in order to ensure the improved programming of the Structural Funds and assess the viability of projects at an early stage. The EIB will make its expertise available to the Commission, both in appraising projects cofinanced by the Bank and from the Community budget and in acting on behalf of the Commission where EIB cofinancing is not envisaged.

Thus, the agreement signed today marks the continuation, deepening and strengthening of the already very close cooperation between the EIB and the European Commission in implementing the Union's structural operations and preparing for enlargement.

(1) Council Regulation (EC):

  • No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds.
  • No 1264/1999 of 21 June 1999 amending Regulation (EC) No 1164/1994 establishing a Cohesion Fund
  • No 1267/1999 of 21 June 1999 establishing an Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-accession.