ECONOMY

Schaeuble to pledge 100 mln euros for Greek SME firms, report says

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will offer Greece 100 million euros to build up a support fund for small and medium-sized companies when he visits Athens Thursday, German daily Handelsblatt cited financial sources as saying on Tuesday.

German state development bank KfW will give the so-called Institution for Growth a loan of this amount and this new fund could then pass on the money to firms, according to an advance copy of an article due to be published on Wednesday.

Schaeuble said last month that Germany would discuss setting up a bilateral program to help SMEs in Greece, as it has done with Spain, at a meeting in Athens, and Greece has expressed interest in receiving such support. Along with KfW, the European Union would provide money via its structural fund and the European Investment Bank (EIB) would also stump up some cash, meaning the Institution for Growth could soon get around 500 million euros in total, the article said. Handelsblatt cited financial sources as saying some details were still subject to negotiation.

Reuters]