The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to increase the support offered to Greece’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a means of helping offset the negative impact from the global financial and credit crisis. «The EIB is supporting the European economy and the financial system by providing 30 billion euros in loans to fund SMEs across all of Europe,» said EIB Vice President Ploutarchos Sakellaris in a statement. The 30-billion-euro amount will be issued by 2011, with half of it going to SMEs between 2008 and 2009. «The bank will use its capital strength to handle the consequences of sliding confidence in the financial system,» added Sakellaris. Greek SMEs have drawn 460 million euros in loans from the EIB since 2002 out of a total amount of 650 million euros they have signed on for. EIB loans for SMEs are provided throughout the European Union via a network of commercial banks with which it works. In Greece, the EIB cooperates with Emporiki Bank, EFG Eurobank, Piraeus Bank and the Pancretan Cooperative Bank.