• Hellenic Foundation for Research & Innovation (HFRI) to benefit from fresh investments in the form of €143 million loan
  • EIB support aims to mitigate “brain drain” and create job opportunities for highly skilled research professionals
  • EIB Group releases 2023 annual results - with total financing committed in the country reaching €2.5 billion, the fourth-highest among all EU countries as a share of GDP.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a new €143 million loan to support the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation’s (HFRI) research and development (R&D) activities in public higher education institutions and research centres across Greece.

At the same time, the EIB Group, which consists of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), released its annual results for Greece, reporting another year of impressive engagement in the country, with record support for economic and social cohesion projects and overall financing signed in 2023 reaching €2.5 billion.

The new investment with the HFRI was announced in Athens at a special ceremony at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and follows a €180 million loan in 2016 to finance the establishment and initial operations of the Foundation. The operation will further strengthen the country’s early-stage R&D capabilities and innovation capacity. It will also enable experienced researchers to advance their career and research, and provide job and training opportunities to young researchers, preventing “brain drain”, while also fostering the EU's economic, social and territorial cohesion in line with European Research Area (ERA) objectives.

“Today we are pleased to announce this new financing agreement that backs the efforts of the Greek authorities to continue the great work being done at the HFRI. Their vital work in supporting early-stage R&D is crucial for Greece since it can make a real difference in Greek innovation, ensuring a positive future for young and talented researchers,” said Kyriacos Kakouris, EIB Vice President. “On top of that, we are pleased to report that in 2023, the EIB Group exceeded its targets in Greece, with total support over €2.5 billion euros in high-impact, multi-sector investments which will help maintain robust employment and social cohesion, as well as boosting competitiveness and improving people’s lives.”

“The new financing agreement that we sign today with the EIB is embedded in our efforts to strengthen Greece’s knowledge-based economy and promote technology and innovation; this is a crucial component of the new dynamic and extrovert growth model that we are building. I would also take the opportunity to thank the EIB for its continuous support for public and private sector investment in Greece. The funds and expertise provided by the EIB have been an integral part in the successful economic turnaround achieved by Greece and we are determined to continue our close cooperation to advance our shared goals and priorities,” said Kostis Hatzidakis, Minister of Economy and Finance.

“The Greek economy has turned a page. It has returned, powerfully, to the European scene. It is growing at one of the highest rates in Europe over the last four years. Having the European Investment Bank as a stable ally, we continue to implement, dynamically and consistently, investments and reforms that pave the way for Greece's decisive shift towards a new, sustainable and socially fair economic model,” said Christos Staikouras, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport.

“The signing of this new contract with the EIB strengthens the HFRI with extremely important resources, upgrading the developmental role it plays in the field of research and innovation. The funds made available from the EIB for investments in the public and private sector, and the indisputable academic and scientific training of the foundation's staff are the best guarantee for attracting new researchers, contributing catalytically to limiting and stopping the brain drain phenomenon. Greece, with extroversion, and utilizing innovation and technology, is building a development model that provides resources for development and new professional possibilities for the scientists of our country,” said Kostas Skrekas, Minister of Development.

“We are extremely proud for the trust that the Greek government and the EIB bestowed upon the HFRI to evaluate and fund basic research in Greece. In eight years since its establishment, the HFRI has proved to be a unique institution, governed by the academic and research community, that has both the scientific expertise and the monitoring experience to support the Hellenic Academic and Research Community to excel in scientific endeavors”, said Prof. Xenia Chryssochoou, President of HFRI’s Scientific Council.

“Today is a very important day not only for the HFRI but for the whole Hellenic Academic and Research Community. Through this new finance agreement, the establishment of the HFRI as the national funding organization of basic research is ensured and the improvement of Greece's R&D performance, the competitiveness of the Greek economy, and the reduction of brain drain are secured,” said Dr. Katerina Kouravelou, HFRI Director

EIB Group delivers another year of transformational investment in Greece

As for the annual results of the EIB Group in Greece, both the public and private sector turned to the EU’s bank for support for long-term investments in economic and social cohesion, renewables, and energy security and efficiency projects. The new financing signed was the fourth-highest among all EU countries as a share of GDP.

Social and economic cohesion

Flagship projects in 2023 included an agreement to commit €900 million in financing for vital investments in public sector to support economic and social cohesion, sustainable urban regeneration, and a just transition toward climate neutrality. Those operations are helping Greek authorities rollout priority investments from energy and water management to education and health services, while accelerating reduction of carbon emissions and improving environmental protection.

Energy security, sustainable energy, and energy transition

A major agreement focused on energy was the EIB’s first Recovery and Resilience Facility transaction backing a €524million landmark project with Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator to connect the Western and Southern Cyclades islands to mainland electrical grid. The link will provide cheaper and cleaner energy and speed up rollout of renewable energy on the Western and Southern Cyclades islands.

There was also a significant deal with global energy and industrial company MYTILINEOS, with the EIB committing €400 million to support the deployment of a new portfolio of solar PV and battery storage systems (BESS)  in the period through 2026 that will add an estimated 2.6GW capacity of power. The investment will total €2.4 billion with projects rolled out across Greece and the EU.

Additionally, EIB backing amounting to €150 million to the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) will be used for the  roll out smart meters across the country, which are essential for boosting the efficiency of electricity distribution and the future expansion of renewable energy.

Finally, a pioneering investment to finance innovative battery production also received EIB backing with a €25 million loan to Sunlight. This will help the company to increase the production capacity for lithium batteries, expand Research and Development capabilities, as well as allow them to produce vital components which are currently outsourced, and create over 200 highly skilled jobs at the company’s world class facilities in Xanthi in northern Greece.

Ensuring SME competitiveness

The EIB affirmed its continued support for the SME and MidCap segment by allocating €800 million - 36% of the Group’s total commitments in Greece - in the form of intermediated loans and guarantees. More specifically, the EIB provided a €400 million loan to National Bank of Greece for on-lending to SMEs and MidCaps. In addition, the EU’s bank approved a new envelope of guarantees and signed the first two transactions of €200 million each that will cover total of €800 million worth of new loans to MidCaps. These operations will mobilise €1.6 billion worth of bank financing at advantageous terms for the backbone of the real economy in Greece.

Innovation and security

The EIB also demonstrated its ongoing support for foreign direct investment in Greece, particularly in the area of technology and innovation, by providing a €10.5 million loan to Veridos Matsoukis, a leading producer of highly secure ID documents for over 40 governments around the world – including within the EU – as well as a range of business partners. Highly secure identity documents that are difficult to alter or to counterfeit, contribute to the security of the state and of citizens. The agreement is part of EIB’s financing for European security via the dedicated SESI initiative.

Advisory Services

In parallel, EIB Advisory continued supporting with technical assistance both public and private sector on a number of initiatives and infrastructure projects relating to the environment and climate, digital innovation and urban development. The highlight of advisory support in 2023 was centred on improving sustainable and energy efficiency infrastructure projects on smaller, remote islands, under the umbrella of its €500 million NEARCHOS programme.

Another year of strong EIF support for Greek businesses

EIF continues to strengthen its agility as the SME-focused risk-taking institution within the EIB Group.

This was demonstrated again in 2023 by agreeing transactions totaling €295 million. Over 80% of that (€240 million) was deployed via the Greek banks and fell under the EU Guarantee Facilities, namely the Recovery & Resilience Facility (RRF) and the InvestEU programme.  This support is expected to support up to €2.8 billion in new lending for Greek SMEs, helping companies get easier access to finance. At the same time, this financing supports EU’s policy objectives as they are captured by EIF’s public policy goals of competitiveness and growth, innovation, social impact and sustainability and green transformation.

Background information


The European Investment Bank (ElB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It finances sound investments that contribute to EU policy objectives. EIB projects bolster competitiveness, drive innovation, promote sustainable development, enhance social and territorial cohesion, and support a just and swift transition to climate neutrality.

The EIB Group, which also includes the European Investment Fund (EIF), signed a total of €88 billion in new financing for over 900 projects in 2023. These commitments are expected to mobilize around €320 billion in investment, supporting 400,000 companies and 5.4 million jobs.

All projects financed by the EIB Group are in line with the Paris Climate Accord. The EIB Group does not fund investments in fossil-fuels. We are on track to deliver on our commitment to support  €1 trillion in climate and environmental sustainability investment in the decade to 2030 as pledged in our Climate Bank Roadmap. Over half of the EIB Group’s annual financing supports projects directly contributing to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and a healthier environment.

Approximately half of the EIB's financing within the EU is directed towards cohesion regions, where per capita income is lower. This underscores the Bank's commitment to fostering inclusive growth and the convergence of living standards.