The European Investment Bank (EIB) grants two global loans of EUR 30 million and EUR 20 million respectively each to Ceskoslovenská Obchodní Banka (CSOB) and CSOB Leasing, a.s. These global loans to CSOB group will make EIB funds available for investment projects in the fields of environmental protection, energy savings, infrastructure, industry, services, tourism and projects for the development of a knowledge based economy.
Global loans take the form of credit lines made available to financial institutions, which on lend the proceeds for small or medium-scale investment projects with total cost between EUR 40,000 to EUR 25 million meeting EIB's criteria.
Both global loans will benefit from the SME Finance Facility (SME FF), a special scheme receiving financial support from the European Commission under the PHARE Programme. The SME FF aims at supporting term financing for the smaller segment of the SME market. It provides the participating financial intermediaries with an incentive in the form of a specific contribution to further develop a strong and competitive SME sector in the Accession Countries. The EC has made available EUR 30 million for the implementation of the SME FF with the EIB. The EIB must in turn allocate a minimum of EUR 300 million of its global loan financing for the SME Finance Facility.
The two global loans will contribute further to the increase of long-term financing for small investments in the Czech Republic, an important element for developing the financial system in the country, and supporting economic growth.
Commenting on the strong development of EIB lending in the future EU Member States, Mr. Wolfgang Roth, EIB Vice President commented: These Global Loans will further benefit to local and foreign entrepreneurs as well as to municipalities wanting to improve their population's overall quality of life. Both the Czech and Slovak Republics will be targeted by CSOB and especially their less developed regions. With these loans, total amount of Global Loans in Czech Republic is EUR 397 million, which added to larger project financing brings total lending in Czech Republic up to almost EUR 5 billion.
Since 1990, the EIB has lent a total of EUR 23 billion in Central and Eastern Europe to finance projects fostering European integration, while EUR 3 billion of this figure being provided through Global Loans. Since 1993 loans provided in the Czech Republic account for almost EUR 5 billion so far.
The prime objective of the EIB in Central and Eastern Europe is to prepare the future Member States for EU membership and to integrate them into the Single Market. The EIB has the following priorities in the future Member States:
- transport to improve the connections between the future Member States and the European Union as well as interlinking these countries, which is a precondition for successful economic integration. Upgrading and further construction of the local infrastructure network and its connection to the Trans-European Network is a major element in strengthening economic competitiveness, achieving balanced and sustainable development of these countries and re-enforcing their economic and social cohesion;
- human capital development and promotion of a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy in line with the Lisbon Strategy. In this connection, the Bank finances projects supporting the development of R&D infrastructure, formation and training of human capital, diffusion of innovation and modernisation of telecommunication networks;
- protection and upgrading of the natural and urban environment to enable the future Member States to comply with EU standards represents another priority lending area for the EIB;
- foreign direct investment that provides capital and know-how, modern technology and management skills for economic modernisation and increased competitiveness.