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European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer today in Athens announced the newly established Investment Team for Greece, to strengthen the EU Bank’s activities and demonstrate its strong commitment to the country’s economic recovery.

Speaking in Athens President Hoyer said: I am delighted to be here to announce the EIB’s new Investment Team for Greece today. It is the first time we have set up such a team, yet another measure of our commitment to Greece’s recovery. I am confident that this will strengthen and re-inforce the EIB Group’s activities in Greece under the leadership of Nicholas Jennett who will lead a strengthened permanent EIB presence in Greece. Greece has faced challenging times in recent years but the EU bank has been and will continue to be by its side. The EU Bank was here before the crisis erupted, has stayed during difficult times, and even strengthened its commitment since, providing investment in the real economy when it was most needed. The Bank’s current exposure in Greece represents around 10% of the country’s GDP.”

EIB lending by sector in Greece in 2015 (in EUR m)

The new Investment Team is part of a special initiative for Greece and marks the first step that the EU bank plans to build on in the coming months through stronger advisory work and strengthened operational capacity on the ground. The purpose of the Athens-based Investment Team is to make a difference by making sure that the EIB can contribute in every way through the EIB Group’s financial and technical experience and new operations, enabling the EU bank to play a key part in the revival of the Greek economy. The team will consist of 30 EIB Group officials, about half of whom will be based in the EU Bank’s Athens office.

Nicholas Jennett Deputy Director General in the EIB is heading the team and is the most senior official working to enhance EIB operations on the ground. He has some 17 years’ experience at the EIB where most recently he has led the New Products Department,

He said, “I am very happy to take the helm of the EIB’s Investment Team for Greece at a crucial time for this country when we can make a real difference for the real economy. The new Investment Team for Greece will ensure that the EIB’s financial and technical expertise can support sustainable economic recovery in Greece and much needed job creation across the country. We will further bolster financing and help provide technical support for suitable and viable projects, especially in the private sector and SMEs, which are the backbone of the Greek economy, and this will have an even greater impact to boost growth and create quality new jobs.”

As part of his visit to Greece, President Hoyer also held meetings with President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the newly-elected leader of the main opposition New Democracy party Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Their discussions focused mainly on the EIB Group’s activities in Greece and its future plans in the country.

We are determined to enhance our cooperation with the Hellenic Republic, other European development finance institutions and private investors in further assisting recovery in Greece,” President Hoyer added.

Since 2008 the EIB Group provided over EUR 12 billion in loans and guarantees in Greece. Outstanding EIB loans total around EUR 18 billion, approximately 10% of the country’s GDP. In 2015 the EIB Group – the EIB and the European Investment Fund – provided loans and guarantees in Greece totaling EUR 1.4 billion.