ECONOMY

Greece and EIB sign 550-mln deal for growth and jobs

The European Investment Bank and the Greek government signed on Monday in Athens a deal that will see the lender provide 550 million euros for highways, local authorities’ infrastructure and, for the first time in Greece, funding for small- and medium-sized enterprises that will create jobs for young people.

“Only five months after the signature of the innovative trade finance agreements we designed especially for Greece, I am pleased to be back to sign a 550-million package of finance for what Greece needs most: growth and employment,” said EIB president Werner Hoyer.

Some 350 million euros will go towards finance the construction of 239 km of new highways and smaller upgrades on 434 km of existing roads.

Another 150 million euros will be used to finance projects promoted by SMEs in the fields of industry, tourism and services in Greece. This will be run by Alpha Bank and Pancretan Cooperative Bank. The latter will run a pilot scheme that includes a window for financing under the “jobs for youth” program.

The final 50 billion euros will be made available to local authorities to invest in the fields of transport, educational infrastructure, cultural and historic heritage, rehabilitation of public buildings, environmental improvement, energy efficiency and tourism infrastructure.