The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term lending institution, is co-financing the second Chair of Mediterranean Studies at the European University Institute of Fiesole (Florence, Italy). The grant will be disbursed over the period 2002-2005.

Compagnia San Paolo di Torino and other Italian banking foundations are also supporting the EIB Chair, which is devoted to research and teaching in finance and development economics, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean basin. The EIB Chair will complement the scope of the first Mediterranean Chair (Law and Political Science), inaugurated in January 1999.

The Mediterranean Programme of the EUI (1), focuses on the entire Middle East and North Africa region, including the countries involved in the Barcelona Process, countries of the Arabian peninsula, Iran and Iraq.

Founded in 1976 with a mission to contribute to "the intellectual life of Europe through its activity and influence, and to the development of Europe's cultural and academic heritage in its unity and in its diversity", the European University Institute of Fiesole is a European intergovernmental foundation. Its members are the Member States of the EU.

The Mediterranean Project of the EUI aims to make the Institute a gathering point for all research on Mediterranean themes at an EU level. Professors from Universities of the Southern Mediterranean give seminars in Fiesole, with the objective of establishing sound links between the EUI and the most prestigious research centres of Mediterranean partner countries. Indeed, the EIB grant will support the EUI's policy in favour of cultural co-operation between the two shores, which constitutes one of the main pillars of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched in Barcelona in 1995.

One of the world's largest post-graduate programmes in the disciplines of Economics, History, Law, Social and Political Sciences, since its foundation the EUI has conferred over a 1,000 doctoral degrees. Currently, 550 students from 30 countries pursue research at the EUI. The teaching staff numbers some 50 professors and 60 visiting senior researchers.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the financing institution of the European Union (EU) was created in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome. Owned by the EU's Member States, EIB's mission is to further the political objectives of the EU by providing long-term finance for specific capital investment projects. The task of identifying and appraising projects to be financed is entrusted to the Bank . Within the EU, where the largest part of its lending takes place, the EIB contributes primarily towards building a closer-knit Europe, particularly in terms of economic integration and greater social cohesion. Outside the EU, the Bank also makes significant amounts available under technical cooperation and development aid policies established by the EU in favour of non EU-member countries. In this context, the EIB supports capital investment in Central and Eastern European countries, in countries of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership , in Asia and Latin America and in South Africa. The Bank also assists the development of the 71 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the 20 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) of EU Member States.

(1) See also