The European Investment Bank today opened its representative office in Warsaw, the first one in the new member countries. The inauguration ceremony attended by some 200 invitees from the government, the banking and business world was followed by addresses from EIB President Philippe Maystadt, EU Commissioner Danuta Hübner and Horst Reichenbach, Secretary General of the EBRD.

The establishment of the EIB Warsaw office will improve the EIB's responsiveness to the financing needs of public and private clients and strengthen cooperation with the local institutions and partners.

The EIB office will also accommodate experts from JASPERS, a joint technical assistance programme set up by the EIB, the European Commission and the EBRD to assist the countries of central and Eastern Europe to develop high quality projects which will receive support from the EU's Structural and Cohesion Funds.

The EIB's operations in Poland cover a wide range of economic sectors ranging from basic infrastructure, manufacturing and services, including support for small-and medium-sized companies, through local financial institutions, to education and promotion of a knowledge-based economy. Overall, these operations contributing to increase the competitiveness of Poland have grown to a total of more than EUR 13 bn since 1990.

Against the background of growing investments in the country, accelerated by EU membership in 2004, the EIB's investments in Poland have reached some EUR 2 bn in 2006 underlining the Bank's commitment to the country, which is the largest recipient country of EIB funding among the new member states.

The EIB has partnered with national and foreign industrial investors and is supporting, through cooperation with an extended network of local banks, a vibrant SME sector in Poland. Also, efficient infrastructure, including trans-European transport corridors will contribute to closer trading links with the older EU members and global markets and support the prosperity of the country. While the Bank is deepening its activity in the above fields, it also progressively expanding into other priority areas, such as education and Research&Development&Innovation, which will be essential for future prosperity, underlined EIB President Philippe Maystadt.

The EIB has appointed Michal Lubieniecki as the Bank's Head of office in Warsaw which will become fully operational as from January 2007.