ECONOMY

EIB funds SMEs via Piraeus

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will finance small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Greece to the tune of 150 million euros as part of plans to offset the negative impact of the credit crisis, it said yesterday. Piraeus Bank will distribute the funds on behalf of EIB for investments in different fields, such as energy and environmental protection. «Lines of credit combine the advantages of EIB’s first-rate access to world capital markets… for its lending activity, with the local network and know-how of domestic partner banks,» EIB said. European Union finance ministers instructed the EIB in September to significantly increase the volumes lent to SMEs in 2008 and 2009 to help offset the effects of the the credit crisis. On a visit to Athens yesterday, EIB Vice President Plutarchos Sakellaris also signed finance agreements totaling 500 million euros for the Athens and Thessaloniki metro lines.