The European Investment Bank signed today in Athens the Funding Agreement for the creation of a dedicated guarantee fund supporting lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece.  The Fund is a joint initiative between the Hellenic Republic, the European Commission and the EIB.  Established by using EUR 500 million from unabsorbed Structural Funds for Greece, the Fund will guarantee EIB loans to SMEs via partner banks in Greece totalling up to EUR 1 billion.

The Funding Agreement was signed today for the Hellenic Republic by the Minister of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping, Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou, and for the EIB by Vice-President Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, in the presence of the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Mr Johannes Hahn.

On this occasion, EIB Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris stated today: “This is an innovative instrument for bolstering SME activity in Greece.  SME financing is key to re-launching growth and strengthening the competitiveness of the Greek economy.  Moreover, this innovative instrument, through its multiplying effect, will improve the effective use of the EU grant funds allocated to the country.  We are building on the excellent cooperation with the Greek authorities, and joining forces with the European Commission.  I would like to assure you that the EIB will keep its product mix and expertise ready to use for the benefit of Greece in the coming years.”

In line with the need expressed by the European Council for enhancing the synergies between EIB loans  and EU funds, this new instrument comes at a timely moment to support the real economy.  It will provide additional liquidity to the banking sector for SME support and will reduce the cost of financing for the SMEs.