The European Investment Bank provides a EUR 30 million global loan to Vereinsbank Riga. The loan will serve for financing projects of small and medium scale promoted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in industry, services and tourism as well as by municipalities and other entities in the fields of environment, infrastructure, development of a knowledge-based economy, rational use of energy and upgrading of health and education facilities in Latvia.

This loan represents already the third EIB global loan granted to a/s Vereinsbank Riga following two previous operations of EUR 10 million and EUR 20 million that were allocated over the period 1998-2003. Thus in total EIB has granted three loans in the amount EUR 60 million to a/s Vereinsbank Riga.

The loan signed today aims at continuing EIB support to the Latvian SME sector that represents a significant source of job opportunities and economic growth. Co-financing of projects in the area of environmental protection, infrastructure, energy, R&D and innovation dissemination, health and education will enhance the implementation of the respective EU policies and objectives. This global loan will thus contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of the Latvian economy and its better integration into the Single Market.

Global loans represent special credit lines to selected partner banks and enable the EIB to finance small and medium scale projects with a total investment higher than EUR 40 000 and less than EUR 25 million. EIB partner banks, like a/s Vereinsbank Riga, assess each project, assume the credit risk and set the loan conditions for the final beneficiary, taking into account the characteristics of funding from the EIB resources. Including the operation signed today, the EIB has extended seven global loans to four Latvian banks for a total amount of EUR 120 million and combined Pan-Baltic global loans also totalling EUR 120 million for on-lending in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The EIB, as the European Union's long-term financing institution, has provided loans exceeding EUR 300 million for projects in Latvia since 1994. Apart from financing investments of small and medium-sized companies, projects supported by EIB lending in Latvia relate to priorities in the fields of transport (railways, ports, airport), energy infrastructure, and environmental and municipal infrastructure.

n the new Member States of Central and Eastern Europe, the EIB has lent more than EUR 26 billion to projects fostering European integration since 1990. The EIB is thus the most important external source of finance for Central and Eastern Europe.

A/s Vereinsbank Riga operates in Latvia as a member of HypoVereinsbank Group (HVB Group). The strategy of Vereinsbank Riga is to concentrate on corporate banking including commodity trade finance (CTF), commercial real estate business and high net worth private individuals. HVB Group is a market leader in Central & Eastern Europe and is one of the most important market players with many years of tradition and experience.