The European Union’s lending arm, the European Investment Bank (EIB), provided a record financing of almost €5 billion last year to help Greece shift to clean energy and support its businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said on Tuesday.
The amount has doubled compared to 2020 to equal “2.7% of Greece’s GDP,” the EIB Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen told a virtual ceremony alongside senior Greek finance ministry officials in Athens.
EIB offered €2.7 billion in guarantees, through European Guarantee Fund, to help companies affected by the coronavirus-related lockdowns secure loans from the country’s four largest lenders Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank and Piraeus Bank.
Those guarantees will mobilize more than €6 billion in investments in tourism, green energy and digital economy, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said.
EIB is also planning to manage €5 billion of funds that Greece is due to receive from the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund in coming years.
Athens is due to get €19.4 billion in grants and €12.7 billion in cheap loans from the fund in coming years, an equivalent of about 16% of its gross domestic product.
Its conservative government plans to use the funds to make Greece’s economy greener and push its digital transformation.