The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 440 million to part-finance Hungary's national contribution to the implementation of priority projects in the areas of research and innovation identified under the Hungarian National Strategic Reference Framework for the period 2007-2013.

Mr Philippe Maystadt, EIB President who signed the loan contract with the Hungarian Finance Minister Mr János Veres, commented: "EIB long-term funds, provided on favourable terms at a time of difficult market conditions, will help the Hungarian Government to finance projects focusing on the development of a knowledge-based economy in six regions of the country. It will help to strengthen the regions' competitiveness and increase the quality of life of their citizens. This financing is a further example of the EIB's contribution to the joint effort of EU institutions in pursuing the national strategic development objectives of the Member States that have joined the Union since 2004".

The projects co-financed by the EIB loan, the State budget and the EU Funds under the Economic Development Operational Programme will be located in the following regions, which are priority areas for EU regional policies: Central, Western and Southern Transdanubia, Northern Hungary, Northern and Southern Great Plain. In keeping with the Government's strong commitment to developing science and technology as a tool for competitiveness, and to help modernise the corporate sector, projects will mainly relate to applied research, experimental development and the market launch of new products, thereby improving SMEs' technological strength, competitive position and access to capital (including through the JEREMIE initiative).

Note to editors:

The EIB, the European Union's long-term financing institution, finances economically viable investment projects that contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. Since 1990, EIB lending in Hungary (including this loan) has exceeded EUR 10 billion.

In 2007 the EIB provided a loan of EUR 165 million supporting investment towards the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy that focused on improving the links between knowledge creation and the market. The EIB approach in this regard involves all phases of the education cycle, research and development, the transformation of innovation into investment, productivity gains and the increased competitiveness of the European economy.