Mr. Sauli Niinistö, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Ms. Zinaida Grecianîi, First Deputy Prime Minister of Moldavia, have signed a framework agreement providing a basis for EIB's activities in Moldavia.

The signature will allow the Bank to proceed with the financing of projects in the areas of transport, energy, telecommunications, and environment infrastructure of key common interest in Moldavia. This includes principally priority Trans-European Network (TEN) projects connecting Moldavia and the European Union. The EIB's activities will be developed in close cooperation with the European Commission, the EBRD and other IFIs operating in the country, notably the World Bank and the IMF. This extension of the EIB's activity is in the context of the Decision of the Council of the European Union to establish a EUR 500 million mandate allowing for Bank lending in the Eastern Neighbours, i.e. in Russia, Ukraine and, now, also Moldavia.

Mr Niinistö met with Moldavia's President Mr Voronin, Prime Minister Mr Tarlev and First Deputy Prime Minister Mrs Grecianîi; during these meetings, improvement to the road transport network and energy interconnections were singled out as top priorities for EIB among its Mandate areas.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), founded in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Community, is the European Union's bank for financing investments that further European integration. The main objective of the EIB is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States.

Outside the Union, in some 130-partner countries, the EIB helps to implement the European Union's cooperation and development policies, among them the EU's new neighbours policy. Operations in the EU partner countries take place in the framework of lending mandates provided to the Bank by the European Council and the EIB's Governors. Of EUR 47.4 billion lent in 2005, EUR 5.1 billion went to projects outside the EU.