The Minister for Finance, Mr Brian Lenihan, TD, today met Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, who is in Dublin as part of the normal ongoing contacts with various institutions in Ireland and to sign a number of loan agreements with relevant bodies.
The Minister welcomed the important contribution that the Bank has made over the years to financing productive investment in both the public and private sectors in this country and he looked forward to this continuing in the years ahead. The Minister welcomed in particular the recently-announced EIB facility for small and medium enterprises in the EU, which will see a total of €30 billion made available through banks to SMEs from now until 2011.
The new facility represents a significant increase in the Bank’s commitment to providing funding for SMEs, which are a critical element in the European economy in general and in smaller economies such as Ireland’s in particular. Mr Sakellaris confirmed that the Bank has been in discussion with a number of Irish financial institutions who had expressed an interest in participating in the facility and that the EIB hopes that agreements to provide such loan facilities can be finalised as soon as possible.
The Minister once again urges Irish banks to utilise the facility to the maximum extent possible with a view to making the additional funding available to SMEs as soon as possible.
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