If you associate Christmas with candy, try some chocolate that’s good for you. Well, good for your heart anyhow. The EIB financed the University of Latvia this year, an institution that’s big on research and development. Yet some of the fruits of this research and development can be relatively small, like the chocolate pills. You’re instructed to take four per day. But do consult with a professional if you’re already taking chocolate during this festive time of the year.
Alternatively, consider vegan truffles and peanut bars from Arzu the Foodbar Supplier in the Netherlands. They are planning to expand, with the support of an innovative fintech company iZettle that the EIB recently financed.
And, yes, wine.
How about trying out something different this year? Wine from Moldova, for example. Winemaking in Moldova dates back 5000 years and the Eastern European country, according to some reports, has the highest density of vineyards in the world. Over the past couple of years the EIB provided a EUR 75 million loan to the Moldovan wine industry to improve the wine’s quality and to increase exports to countries other than Russia.
To achieve this, Moldovan banks used EIB financing to give loans to vine growers, wine producers, bottlers, label printers and even the oenology department of the Technical University of Moldova, where modern lab equipment can now be used to test wine and improve the quality.
The EIB also provided technical assistance to the industry by, for example, taking Moldovan farmers and winemakers on trips to learn different methods in Italy, Luxembourg and France.
The push toward quality in Moldovan wine is making progress. Moldova has dramatically increased exports to new markets such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and even China and Nigeria. Exports to EU countries have grown about 50% from 2010 to 2015.
When Rudolph guides Santa’s sleigh down from the far north this Christmas, he’ll discover that, after being rather naughty a few years ago, Europe’s economy is now behaving quite nicely. All these EIB projects have contributed to that. But next year we really ought to see if we can finance a mistletoe farm…