The European Investment Bank (EIB) lends EUR 15 million to Slovenská záručná a rozvojová banka, a. s. (SZRB – Slovak Guarantee and Development Bank) to finance SMEs and Mid-Caps. One of the objectives of the loan is also the support of Youth Employment initiatives under EIB’s “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth” programme.

One third of young Slovaks under the age of 25 is unemployed. SZRB is the first bank in Slovakia with which the EIB has joined forces in its initiative to reduce youth unemployment in Europe. The "Skills and Jobs" programme targets a wide range of projects in both the public and private sectors which actively stimulate youth employment measures, from educational facilities and student loan schemes to youth oriented training programmes. The aim of this initiative is to incentivise financial intermediaries to target their lending to final beneficiaries that contribute to the improvement of youth employment.

The project is well aligned with SZRB’s mission to provide financing to small and medium-sized enterprises; in particular to those which do not have easy access to commercial bank funding. The EIB’s loan aims to reduce the financing costs for these final beneficiaries, contributing to their further growth and development.

Mr László Baranyay, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in Slovakia, commented: “The EIB loan is designed to help improve the employment situation of young people in Slovakia and provide them with a better life perspective for their future. At the same time it will facilitate access to financing at beneficial terms to Slovak SMEs and Mid-Caps, which are the engine of the Slovak economy in terms of economic growth and creation of new working opportunities.”

The current operation is a continuation of a well-developed cooperation of the EIB with the SZRB. The EIB previously provided two loans totalling EUR 80 million to the Slovak Guarantee and Development Bank to support SMEs.