The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 45 million loan to the Galicia Region to support the Galician Research, Development and Technological Innovation Plan 2006-2010. EIB Vice-President, Carlos da Silva Costa, and the Region's Finance Minister, José Ramón Fernández Antonio, signed the corresponding finance contract in Luxembourg this morning.

At the signing ceremony the EIB Vice-President stressed "the importance of cooperation between universities, researchers and companies, which takes technological progress out of academia and into the business world. This is an essential part of giving economic value to new knowledge. For the European Union, the key to increasing the competitiveness of European companies, enhancing the value added of their products and safeguarding jobs is to boost innovation, and Galicia's technology parks provide an example of investment in this policy".

The EIB loan will help to finance the expansion of the "Galicia Technopole" in Orense and the "Vigo Technology City". This new investment is geared to fostering closer links between science and industry and encouraging exchanges of scientific and technical know-how between universities, R&D establishments and companies, focusing especially on small high-tech businesses.

The European Investment Bank is the EU's long-term financing institution promoting European objectives. Set up in 1958, it operates in the 27 EU Member States and more than 130 other countries worldwide.

The EIB is highly involved in financing investment aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the European economy by supporting RDI projects, education and training, the dissemination of new technologies and the development of information and communication technologies. In line with the decisions of the Lisbon European Council in 2000, the Bank prioritises innovation and has financed investment in this area to the tune of over EUR 57 billion since that date.