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European Investment Bank - Annual Report 1996

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the financing institution of the European Union, has published its annual report for 1996 which provides an overview of the activities of the EIB over the past year.

Total lending by the EIB amounted to over ECU 23 billion in 1996, of which...
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the financing institution of the European Union, has published its annual report for 1996 which provides an overview of the activities of the EIB over the past year.

Total lending by the EIB amounted to over ECU 23 billion in 1996, of which 90% occurred within the Member States of the Union. To finance this the Bank raised the equivalent of over ECU 18.5 billion by bond issues on the international capital market.

As a European Union institution, the EIB's prime objective is to contribute to the implementation of European Union policies and objectives. Its task is to contribute, by means of its long-term loans, towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States. Priority areas include preparations for transition to a single currency and support to the trans-European transport, energy and telecommunications networks.

In 1996, well over two-thirds of the EIB's lending in the Union went to financing investment projects in the less prosperous regions. At the same time, the Bank committed more than a further ECU 6 billion to the trans-European transport, energy and telecommunications networks, essential to opening up remote areas and progressively eliminating regional disparities.

Other priority areas included environmental protection, ensuring the EU's energy supply, enhancing industrial competitiveness and support to SMEs. EIB loans to SMEs, channelled through almost 130 banks and financial institutions in every country of the Union, helped to finance over 11,000 small or medium-sized productive investment schemes.

EIB lending outside the European Union in 1996, amounted to ECU 2.3 billion, including ECU 1.1 billion in Central and Eastern Europe. A further ECU 7 billion will be available for funding in this region between now and January 2000. Moreover, an additional "pre-accession" lending facility for the countries which have begun formal accession negotiation with the Union will shortly be introduced.

An action plan for 1997 setting out planned activities for the coming year is also available from the EIB.

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Economic Aspects
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