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In a speech delivered today at the University of Cyprus (UCY), EIB President Werner Hoyer recalled the projects that the EU bank financed in Cyprus in 2014 and reaffirmed the EIB’s strong support for the country and in particular for its knowledge economy.

The EU Bank finalised an agreement to provide UCY with financing of EUR 80 million for the extension and modernisation of the university’s facilities, strengthening its engagement in the educational field.

The finance agreement for UCY which President Hoyer signed together with Harris Georgiades, Cypriot Minister of Finance, and Constantinos Christofides, Rector of UCY, is the EIB’s largest ongoing investment in Cyprus and includes new buildings, upgrading of existing facilities for energy efficiency and anti-seismic armouring. The EIB had already financed a prior investment programme of the University of Cyprus, successfully implemented between 2002 and 2012. The Cypriot Minister of Education and Culture, Costas Kadis, and Professor Christopher Pissarides, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2010, also attended the ceremony. The signature was followed by the opening of an exhibition presenting students’ paintings at the University’s art gallery.

President Hoyer also met with representatives from Cypriot banks to sign credit lines totalling EUR 75 million in support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). This new financing to the banking sector complements lending signed earlier this year for a total of EUR 110 million. The loan agreements were signed with George Georgiou, Managing Director of Alpha Bank Cyprus (EUR 20 million), with Michalis Louis, CEO of Eurobank Cyprus (EUR 30 million), with Nicholaos Th. Beis, Managing Director of NBG (Cyprus) (EUR 15 million), and with Khalil Letayf, CEO & General Manager of Société Générale Cyprus (EUR 10 million).

President Hoyer said, “The EU bank joins forces with the most dynamic elements of the Cypriot society: the University of Cyprus, promoting an educated and innovative youth, as well as the banking sector, valuable partner in supporting SMEs for growth and jobs. With today’s signatures, we tackle youth unemployment in the short and long term. In a bid to support EU competitiveness, we invest in our future, in generations of competent and skilled youth. Furthermore, our cooperation with these additional financial partners will boost the creation of jobs by providing affordable finance to Cypriot SMEs.”