The Greek State, through the Ministry of Mercantile Marine and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financing of major international and national port facilities in Greece.

The agreement signed today in Luxembourg by the Greek Minister of Merchant Marine Mr Manolis Kefaloyiannis and EIB Vice-president Gerlando Genuardi, which is the result of cooperation and consultation during the last few months, underlines the EIB's interest to support through the eventual financing of individual projects, a high priority investment programme under the State's Port Development Strategy, covering the period 2005-2015.

The Hellenic Republic, considers the improvement and upgrading of its seaports of vital importance both for the economy of the country and of the European Union. Within the context of Trans-European Transport Networks (TENs), based on inter-modal transport, the expansion and development of hinterland infrastructure connections with the Greek ports will enhance their crucial role as transshipment nodes, connecting the countries of the Middle East, North Africa and Black Sea with Central and Northern Europe.

The EIB's contribution to the financing of the Greek Port Development Programme will (i) meet the Bank's objective to finance key EU transport infrastructure; and (ii), bring value added by accelerating the implementation of the programme, and facilitating the participation of the private sector in line with the European policy for developing the motorways of the sea through investments in seaports and inter-modal terminals.

Projects to be supported under the MoU will be subject both to the Bank's normal review for compliance with eligibility and the usual technical, environmental, economic and financial viability criteria.