Business & Economy

EIB to support SME funding in Greece through IfG

02 May, 2014

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Greek government concerning the contribution of the EIB to the “Institution for Growth in Greece” (IfG). The IfG aims to promote growth, innovation and employment through the provision of short and long-term debt and equity capital to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as smaller infrastructure projects necessary to enhance competitiveness in key selected sectors of the Greek economy.
“This agreement underpins our strong commitment to Greece,” said EIB President Werner Hoyer, who was visiting Greece for the fourth time in the last six months.
“As the EU bank, we are natural partners in the country’s recovery efforts, for which we provide continuous and effective support. 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. Our cooperation, based on our comparative advantages, will help to avoid duplication of resources and maximise the impact for the benefit of the Greek citizens.”
The IfG will be established as a non-bank finance institute addressing the need to overcome existing temporary and structural funding gaps in the Greek economy. It is being launched at the initiative of the Greek government with the guidance and support of KfW Development Bank of Germany, the EIB Group and other investors.
EIB activity in Greece has remained strong with a total of EUR 9 bln since the start of the crisis in 2008. With an exposure of almost EUR 17 bln corresponding to around 9% of Greek GDP the overall engagement of the EIB remains outstanding. Investments into infrastructure alone in Greece amount to around EUR 14 bln. To assist Greek SMEs, EIB funding has enabled EUR 700 mln to be allocated to SMEs during the crisis period, to the benefit of a total of 5,000 SMEs in a variety of economic sectors in metropolitan areas as well as the periphery.
The EIB has provided a higher volume of finance (in 2013 lending tripled to a total of EUR 1.47 bln, from EUR 550 mln in 2012), but also by introducing new products such as the Trade Finance Facility, the SME Guarantee Fund, the provision of funds to SMEs for “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth”, as well as by the EIB’s contribution for the establishment of the “Institution for Growth in Greece”.