ATHENS (Reuters) – The European Union’s lending arm, the European Investment Bank (EIB), provided a record financing of almost 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion) last year to help Greece shift to clean energy and support its businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said on Tuesday.
The amount has doubled compared to 2020 to equal “2.7% of Greece’s GDP (gross domestic product),” the Vice-President of EIB Christian Kettel Thomsen told a virtual ceremony alongside senior Greek finance ministry officials in Athens.
EIB offered 2.7 billion euros in guarantees, through European Guarantee Fund, to help companies affected by the coronavirus-related lockdowns secure loans from the country’s four largest lenders Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank and Piraeus Bank.
Those guarantees will mobilize more than 6 billion euros in investments in tourism, green energy and digital economy, Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said.
EIB is also planning to manage 5 billion euros of funds that Greece is due to receive from the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund in coming years.
Athens is due to get 19.4 billion euros in grants and 12.7 billion euros in cheap loans from the fund in coming years, an equivalent of about 16% of its gross domestic product.
Its conservative government plans to use the funds to make Greece’s economy greener and push its digital transformation.
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