The EIB, the leading multilateral financial investor in the Mediterranean, is stepping up its rapid, concerted and effective action in support of the democratic, economic and social transition in the Mediterranean by allocating additional resources of up to EUR 6 billion (USD 7.6 billion) by 2013.

EIB President Philippe Maystadt describes this action in these terms: “We listened very carefully to the aspirations expressed by the people during the Arab spring and we are more than ever convinced of the importance of our mission: in order to put down lasting roots in society, democracy must be based on economic and social growth and development policies that are able to provide the younger generation with new prospects for the future.”

Thus, in the immediate aftermath of the Arab spring, the EIB launched in Tunisia, in agreement with the country’s new authorities, a series of projects in support of employment, small and medium-sized enterprises and the development of microcredit, the modernisation of transport infrastructure and the expansion of energy generation and distribution. Accordingly, EUR 300 million (USD 380 million) of the EUR 600 million (USD 760 million) worth of new EIB loans announced for 2011 has already been approved to meet the people of Tunisia’s priority needs. The funds will be deployed from July 2011 onwards.

In Egypt, the Bank and the authorities have also identified priority projects in key areas such as help for businesses and the self-employed, infrastructure development, transport, energy and water. 

Given the outlook and the present and future challenges raised by the Arab spring, the EIB has decided to concentrate its action up to 2013 in three priority areas:

  • Supporting job-creating projects, the number one priority for these countries faced with high unemployment;
  • Developing an entrepreneurial culture by supporting SMEs and encouraging research, development and innovation;
  • Fostering economic and social integration with the aim of achieving balanced development that targets more specifically isolated regions lacking infrastructure and communications links.

Over the past few years, the EIB has been constantly increasing the quality and diversity of its action in the region, playing a catalytic role by attracting other investors in its wake. Since 2002 it has mobilised investment worth more than EUR 12 billion (USD 15.2 billion) in support of these countries. The bank of the European Union will use all of its skills and know-how to support democratic reform and economic development in the Mediterranean region.

The EIB will propose holding a regional conference on the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises in Tunis by the end of the year to the ministers of the Mediterranean and EU countries gathered together at the annual FEMIP meeting in Brussels on 12 July.

Note to editors:

The EIB, the leading financial investor in the Mediterranean region

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the EU’s financing institution and the leading financial investor in the Mediterranean region through FEMIP (the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership), which was set up in 2002. FEMIP provides highly practical support for economic and social development in the Mediterranean with the aim of improving living conditions in the partner countries. By the end of 2010, its total financing commitment had grown to more than EUR 12 billion. In 2010, FEMIP increased the volume of its activity by 60% to EUR 2.6 billion, confirming its position as the leading development investor in the Mediterranean region.