The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided a EUR 150m intermediated loan to the Bulgarian Development Bank AD to finance small and medium-scale projects promoted by SMEs and midcaps in Bulgaria.

This is the first EIB transaction in Bulgaria’s public sector benefiting from the support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financing component of the Investment Plan for Europe.

EIB Director for lending operations in Central and South-Eastern Europe Flavia Palanza stated: “This is the first EFSI public sector project in Bulgaria. It combines EFSI financing with private sector involvement to improve the access SME and midcap companies have to long-term finance under favourable terms. Supporting this sector is an EIB priority as it is an engine for growth, innovation and job creation in Bulgaria”.

European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva said: "Today's agreement under the Investment Plan is fantastic news for small businesses in Bulgaria. EUR 150 million more is now available to SMEs in Bulgaria who need investment in their projects, particularly those at a very early stage of development. We said we are focused on supporting projects right across the EU and today we are delivering on that once again".

Under this loan some 30% of the EIB funds will support innovative projects. Part of the financing will be focused on projects undertaken in areas with a high unemployment rate, under the Youth Employment Initiative or implemented by companies at start-up, growth or expansion stage. The loan will also target projects promoted by SMEs with fewer than ten employees.