By Jerom Bolt
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved funding and advisory services worth more than EUR 13 billion for Romania in the 25 years it has worked in our country, according to a press release from the financial institution.
EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell and Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose celebrated the 25th anniversary of the approval of the first EIB operation in Romania and the 10th anniversary of the opening of the EIB Group office in Bucharest and discussed future cooperation between the EIB Group and Romania.
The EIB Group has played an important role in the modernization of the Romanian economy since 1992. The development of national and trans-European networks and commitment to climate action have been a defining feature of the operations of the EU bank in this country, the press release said.
The first operations in the mid-1990s focused on the modernization of the national road network, the completion of unfinished works from the Bucharest metro, the regeneration of the obsolete and polluting energy system, the renewal of the TAROM fleet and the reduction of the losses in the district heating systems. All major economic sectors of the country, from transport, communications, energy, health, education and rural development to environmental infrastructure, have been supported, with particular attention being paid to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises through local financial institutions as well as contributing projects the development of an information society and a knowledge-based economy while creating new jobs that are so necessary.
Romania is the Southeast European country that received the most funds from the EIB Group, followed by Croatia and Bulgaria, each of them receiving around 5 billion euros.
'Today's event not only aimed at celebrating past achievements but also approving new operations: The European Investment Fund (EIF), which is part of the European Investment Bank Group, has signed three more guarantee transactions within The SME Initiative with BRD-Groupe Société Générale, ING Bank (branch in Bucharest) and Libra Internet Bank as partners. Agreements with the three banks have the role of facilitating access to finance for Romanian SMEs by granting a 60% guarantee on each loan and by reducing the interest rates charged by banks. It is estimated that around 300 SMEs and start-ups in need of funding will benefit from these transactions, "the press release said.
In addition, the EIB signed a first lei loan with ProCredit Bank SA, worth about 90 million lei (20 million euros), mainly dedicated to investments for SMEs and intermediary enterprises, marking a moment turning the EIB Group into supporting the Romanian economy through its local banking partners. It is estimated that this long-term ROL loan will benefit more than 250 SMEs and intermediate-size enterprises.
At the same time, the EIB has granted a 7.5 million euro loan to GreenFiber International SA to fund a recycling and circular economy project. This operation is also supported by the FEIS. The project will contribute to the creation of 280 full-time jobs and will increase the amount of waste collected and processed by more than 50 000 tonnes per year.
'We celebrate the 25th anniversary of our first lending operation in Romania, as well as the fact that we support projects that improve the living standards of Romanian citizens. Similarly, since so far there have been 145 projects directly supported by the EIB and 73 operations carried out by its EIF, so far, new transactions are designed to reduce disparities in regional development and strengthen economic competitiveness Romanian businesses, "said EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell.
According to him, current projects are examples of fruitful partnership between the EIB and Romania.
'They provide long-term and affordable funding for small and medium-sized enterprises. SMEs are the backbone of the Romanian economy in terms of job creation and economic growth. Using the EU budget guarantee under the EIS for a project that contributes to the climate action priority enables us to support investments that would otherwise not qualify for an EIB loan, "he added.