EIB lends 1.7 billion to Greece

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will pump at least 1.7 billion euros of loans into the Greek economy in 2009 to finance energy and transport projects, among others, it said yesterday. The European Union’s lending bank said it has already granted loans of 1.4 billion euros in Greece with an additional 300 million euros expected to be signed by the end of the year. «The majority went to small and medium-sized businesses,» EIB vice president Plutarchos Sakellaris said in a statement. Expansion of the Athens metro, construction of the Thessaloniki metro and Piraeus port facilities are among the projects the EIB has helped finance. In the latest deal announced yesterday, the EIB said it signed two finance contracts worth 19 million euros to help Elval modernize its aluminum-processing plants. One of the main aims of the EIB, whose shareholders are the 27 EU member states, is to contribute to their development and social cohesion.