At a press conference in Bratislava today, the European Investment Bank (EIB) presented its 2014 results, with a focus on activities in the Slovak Republic and prospects for future operations in the country.

EIB Vice-President Mr László Baranyay stated: “2014 was an important year for the EIB in Slovakia providing in loans EUR 556 million to support investment projects designed to improve people’s living standards, reduce disparities in the regional development and strengthen the country’s economic competitiveness. The objective of the Bank was to support priority projects receiving grants from the European Union. In the current year we envisage increasing the lending substantially providing some EUR 1 billion in this regard and further improve the access of SMEs and larger private corporates to long term finance provided under favourable terms.”

In the area of the strategic infrastructure sector in 2014 the Bank provided a loan of EUR 125 million to finance renovation and reinforcement of the electricity distribution network in Central Slovakia to maintain and improve the reliability of supply and to connect new users to the system. The Bank also granted a loan of EUR 100 million to finance upgrading of the security of Slovakia’s gas distribution infrastructure to meet current strict environmental and safety requirements.

Last year, the EIB concluded four intermediated loan contracts amounting to EUR 160 million with Slovak banks and leasing companies, which will use the EIB funds to finance projects carried out by SMEs and mid-size companies. These credit lines meet the EIB’s priority of supporting Europe’s small businesses and helping to reduce the impact of the current economic crisis by improving SMEs’ access to medium and long-term funds on advantageous financial terms.

In 2014 the EIB co-financed with EU funds with EUR 120 million the afforestation, improved forest protection and management and the upgrading of agricultural infrastructure in rural Slovakia. This was the first time that EIB funds have been used to finance forestry projects in Slovakia. The Bank also provided EUR 25 million for the development of public infrastructure in the Prešov Region to make the region attractive for the local population, investors and visitors and to increase the level of economic development and standard of living.

In 2015 the EIB Group will continue to support growth and employment in Slovakia with particular emphasis on the identification and financing of projects to be supported under the European Fund for Strategic Investments.