The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, has granted the Instituto de Finanzas de Castilla la Mancha (IFCLM) a global loan of EUR 50 million to finance ventures promoted by SMEs. The contract for the first EUR 25 million tranche was signed last Thursday in Luxembourg by EIB Vice-President Isabel Martín Castellá along with María Luisa Araújo Chamorro, Economics and Finance Director of Castilla la Mancha, and IFCLM President Julián Sánchez Pingarrón.

This is the EIB's first global loan to Instituto de Finanzas de Castilla la Mancha for improving the productivity and competitiveness of SMEs. Specifically, it will be used to finance small-scale industrial, tourism and service sector ventures as well as infrastructural, environmental protection, energy, health and education schemes. In managing this line of credit, IFCLM will work hand-in-hand with regional commercial and savings banks operating in Castilla la Mancha.

In 2001, the EIB approved 7 global loans totalling EUR 1 290 million to various Spanish financial institutions for financing SME ventures and local authority infrastructural and environmental projects.

The EIB was created in 1958 by the founding treaty of the European Economic Community, the Treaty of Rome. It was set up to contribute to the integrated and balanced development of the Member States, as well as to their economic and social cohesion, by providing long-term finance for capital investment furthering EU objectives.

Its global loans are lines of credit opened with banks and other national, regional and local financial intermediaries, which onlend the proceeds in the form of sub-loans targeting small and medium-scale investment schemes meeting the Bank's eligibility criteria.

In 2001, the EIB signed loans in Spain for an aggregate amount of EUR 4 559 million.