Cyprus maintains lead position among European Investment Bank (EIB) shareholder countries in 2020 with agreements for projects worth 1.5% of GDP, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said.
He made the comments on Monday after a meeting EIB President Werner Hoyer in Nicosia.
Petrides said schemes amounting to €500 mln have been approved by the EIB while by the end of the year an expected additional €200 mln will follow.
Since 2013 the EIB has funded projects in Cyprus amounting to €1.7 bln.
“As far as 2020 is concerned, Cyprus maintains first place among the EIB shareholder countries with agreements for financing projects that correspond to 1.5% of Cyprus GDP.”
Cyprus, Petrides said, was the first country that signed the participation agreements in the Pan-European Guarantee Fund.
The first instalment was approved on the 2 September and is a loan of €200 mln.
He said banks participating in the Entrepreneurship Fund have already started lending.
Petrides thanked EIB for the recent approval of a €150 mln loan to finance the CyprusGas2EU project at the Vassiliko energy centre, which aims to deliver natural gas to power plants to generate electricity in line with EU directives.
Hoyer said that Cyprus is his first foreign trip since the COVID lockdown, something, as he said, that shows we “are very sensitive as regards to issues of Cyprus”.
He expressed gratitude that Cyprus was the first EU country to sign up to the Guarantee Fund.
Hoyer, who also met President Nicos Anastasiades, stressed the Bank does not operate in any other European country more than in Cyprus, which brings that to 1.5% of GDP annually or €500 mln approvals so far.
He also said that the Cyprus Gas Import Facility or LNG terminal for the EU is of the highest importance because it will reduce the heavy dependence on fossil fuel use and is in the interest of the energy diversification and security of Cyprus but also in the climate interest of Europe.
Hoyer pointed out that the EIB is particularly interested in these activities and this is why they are also very active in energy efficiency in Cyprus.
Apart from the €200 mln Entrepreneurship scheme there could be some other deals with broadband companies, the national road system and the Vassiliko power plant.
“We are optimistic that our support for Cyprus can continue as it has been working all the time.
We have been in Cyprus before the financial crisis, we stayed here during the financial crisis and we continued after the financial crisis and we have since then further built up our activities here so we are at 1.5% of GDP now and we are going to continue this trend,” Hoyer said.
The EIB, he said, has been very active from the beginning in the COVID19 challenge, financing the research of new vaccines.
“I think we are quite successful, we have put a couple of billion euros into the research and development of a vaccine and I am optimistic that by the turn of the year we might see the first results of this research and development.
And then it will be important to develop and distribute in a fair manner those vaccines in the EU and globally,” Hoyer said.
As part of its energy lending policy, the EIB will end financing for fossil fuel energy projects from the end of 2021.
The European Investment Bank has provided more than €4 bln for investment in Cyprus since the first EIB operations were agreed 37 years ago.
Over the last six years, since the financial crisis, the EIB has agreed more than €1.7 bln of new education, energy, shipping, water and private sector investment.
The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States.
It makes long-term finance available for sound investment to contribute towards EU policy goals.