ECONOMY

EIB lending to beat initial target

The European Investment Bank (EIB) expects to exceed its initial 2009 target of pumping 1.2 billion euros of finance into the Greek economy this year, its vice president said yesterday. EIB Vice President Ploutarchos Sakellaris said late last year the lender will double the amount of money earmarked for Greece’s small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in 2009 to 1.2 billion euros. «Today, I am confident that we will exceed by far this target,» he told journalists in Athens yesterday. SMEs have been struggling to cover their finance needs, despite the government’s 28-billion-euro liquidity plan aimed at keeping the economy well funded. Survey results released earlier this week showed that 81 percent of SMEs claim that banks have essentially made lending to them difficult to impossible by imposing unfavorable terms. «We will not restrict our efforts to SMEs but equal attention shall be devoted to economic infrastructure, energy, ‘green’ and ‘knowledge’ economy development for both the public and private sectors,» he said. The EIB, the lending bank of the European Union, contributes to the development and social cohesion of the member states. Its total loans in 2008 reached 57 billion euros, up 21 percent from the previous year.