11/24/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/24/2022 09:01
The EIB Group has reinforced its partnership with the Hellenic Republic by the signature of a new contractual framework for the EIF to manage an additional EUR 400 million of Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) investments in Greece to help small to medium businesses in the country, which comes on top of the EUR 5 billion RRF funds already entrusted to EIB.
The new support, which represents one of the first contributions to the InvestEU Member State Compartment in Europe, is designed to helping Greek SME's to obtain preferential access to finance while incentivizing investments in climate action and digital transition projects.
Under the new mandate, the EIF will implement three guarantee instruments: the Sustainability Portfolio Guarantee, which will support financing of investments in climate action, energy efficiency and renewable energy; the SME Competitiveness Portfolio Guarantee which will support the competitiveness and growth of local enterprises; and the Innovation and Digitalisation Portfolio Guarantee, which will enhance access to finance of Research & Innovation-intensive Greek enterprises, and support the uptake of digital technologies and digital transformation.
The mandate was announced at a signing ceremony at the European Commission's office in Athens on November 24, 2022 attended by European Commission Vice President MargaritIs Schinas, Alternate Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis, EIB Vice-President for Greece Christian Kettel Thomsen, Hubert Cottogni, Head of the Mandate Management Department and Director for the European Investment Fund (EIF), and Nikos Mantzoufas, Governor of the Recovery & Resilience Fund Agency.
"This initiative is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it's an important opportunity for Greek small and medium enterprises to share the benefits of the low cost financing from the innovative loan facility established by the Greek authorities through our historic Recovery and Resilience Fund. I am particularly happy that this facility will enable new and small Greek businesses to prepare for the green and digital transitions. Secondly, it is further evidence of the long-standing partnership between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank in pooling their resources, experience and expertise in order to support the Greek economy, thus having an impact that is larger than the sum of their parts," said Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission," said Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission.
"Τhis 400 million-euro agreement between the EIF and the Hellenic Republic can deliver 1.5 bn euros for Greek SMEs, small mid-caps and individuals, via three guarantee instruments. It is extremely crucial for their future after two consecutive crises (COVID-19 pandemic and energy crisis), as they gain preferential access to finance in order to implement investments in climate action, energy efficiency and renewable energy, to enhance their competitiveness and to support their digital transformation. We are delighted as our partnership with the EIB Group grows into a great asset for Greek entrepreneurship," said Theodoros Skylakakis, Greece's Alternate Finance Minister.
"The EIB is pleased to support Greece's ambitious plans to harness the opportunities that the RRF provides, and with this new agreement our Greek partners can directly finance the competitiveness of Greek SMEs, sustainable investments and digital transition, in line with the objectives of the Greek Recovery and Resilience Plan. The envisaged financial instruments have the potential to deliver over 1.5 bn euros for Greek SMEs, small mid-caps and individuals by helping them in obtaining preferential access to finance, on the one hand, and will incentivize investments in climate action and digital transition, on the other," said Christian Kettel Thomsen, EIBVice-President responsible for Greece.
"We are delighted to build on the long-standing relationship with the Greek government to help local SMEs overcome the financial constraints posed by the two past financial crises and to build new ways of investments in Greece for the years to come. Thanks to this new 400 million euro agreement between the EIF and the Hellenic Republic, businesses in Greece will see a marked improvement in their ability to access credit. Today, we are publishing on EIF website an Information Note to the existing published Call for Expression of Interest for InvestEU which informs the market of the availability of three financial guarantee instruments that can lead to higher multiplying effect of national investments" said Hubert Cottogni, Director & Head of Mandate Management of the European Investment Fund.
"The agreement signed today with the European Investment Bank which will be executed via the European Investment Fund, aiming to support especially the SMEs, proves that the Recovery Fund in Greece is implemented around a comprehensive strategy that pertains all sustainable enterprises. We are very pleased to maintain an excellent cooperation on RRF with the EIB and the EU in general and this cooperation works to the benefit of both society and entrepreneurship," said Nikos Mantzoufas, Governor of the Recovery & Resilience Fund Agency.
Supporting 'Greece 2.0'
Greece is expected to receive EUR 31 billion from the European Recovery and Resilience Facility, in the form of grants and loans. This is a one-off initiative intended to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the COVID pandemic. At the end of 2021, the EIB's largest bilateral RRF mandate was signed with Greece, which set out the basic structure for the partnership and that the EIB will manage up to EUR 5 billion of the RRF investment in Greece as part of the country's national recovery plan, 'Greece 2.0'.
This partnership between Greece and the EIB Group is now being extended, with the additional EUR 400 million RRF funds to be managed by EIF in an effort to enhance support for Greek businesses.
EIF strong track record in Greece
Since its inception, the EIF has supported EUR 3.79 billion in financing in Greece, resulting in EUR 13.35 billion leverage financing, while as of today 35,000 SMEs have been supported financially through EIF's programs, through 50,000 transactions which has supported more than 276,000 jobs.
A total of 91 mandates and operational agreements were signed with local counterparties including the Hellenic Republic, local FIs, fund managers, and microfinance providers. EIF financing in Greece during 2021-2022 has reached EUR 2.11 billion, ranked 7th in the EIF's list of EU countries supported.
Record EIB engagement in 2021
Last year new business investments and corporate innovation, urban renewal, energy transition and digitalisation of public services benefited from the European Investment Bank Group's largest ever engagement Greece. In 2021, support for private and public investments by the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund totalled EUR 4.85 billion, the largest in 59 years of operations in the country.
EIB Group financing in Greece represented 2.7% of national GDP, the largest engagement in any country worldwide.
Greece was also a leading beneficiary of the Pan-European Guarantee Fund, an initiative the EIB Group and EU member states launched to provide financing to businesses struggling due to challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, access to financing by businesses across Greece will be strengthened by EUR 2.7 billion of guarantees provided by the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund.
European Investment Fund
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF contributes to the pursuit of key EU policy objectives such as competitiveness and growth, innovation and digitalisation, social impact, skills and human capital, climate action and environmental sustainability and more.
NOTE: An Information Note to the InvestEU Call for Expression of Interest is published today in relation to the Greek Member State Compartment. Starting today, the banks will find on the EIF website all the information to apply for the portfolio guarantees offered under this additional support under InvestEU.