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EIF and the Hellenic Republic sign the first Funding Agreement

    Date: 27 June 2007

Athens, 26 June 2007

The Chief Executive of European Investment Fund (EIF), Mr. Francis Carpenter and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Hellenic Republic, represented by Mr. Folias, Vice Minister, have today signed the first Funding Agreement (FA) to be agreed under the JEREMIE initiative.

This follows the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between EIF and the Hellenic Republic for the general framework and implementation of JEREMIE, signed in October 2006, to improve the access to finance for Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece, in the context of the EU structural funds for the period 2007 – 2013.

EIF will act as Holding Fund to implement the JEREMIE initiative in Greece. The initial mandate amounts to EUR 100 million for the period 2007-2013.

EIF will set up a JEREMIE representation in Athens.

EIF's Chief Executive, Francis Carpenter, said: “With this very important agreement, the Hellenic Republic takes up a pioneering role, showing its readiness to promote and adopt a sophisticated and efficient financial engineering approach. We look forward to a dynamic and fruitful cooperation in the framework of the JEREMIE initiative.”

Background information

JEREMIE - Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises – is a joint initiative launched by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and EIF to improve access to finance for SMEs in Europe in the framework of the 2007 - 2013 Cohesion policy. It enables the EU Member States and regions to set-up holding funds in order to support SMEs, start-ups and micro-enterprises in a flexible way and with a long term approach. Holding funds will provide financial intermediaries with a wide range of financial instruments like equity, venture capital, guarantees and micro-loans together with potential leverage of EIB loans. Sustainable, tailor-made and revolving financial instruments, aiming to develop and foster the role of entrepreneurship within the EU support are key elements of the Lisbon agenda and help the structural funding to deliver greater benefits to the market.

About EIF

As the only European Union body with a specialised focus on SME financing, EIF has an essential role to play in pursuing core EU objectives such as innovation, regional development, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and job creation.

EIF’s activity is centred upon two areas, Venture Capital (VC) and Guarantees:

  • EIF is a Fund-of-Funds investing in venture, notably in early-stage high-tech funds that support SMEs,
  • EIF provides Guarantees to banks and guarantee schemes for SMEs.

With over EUR 4.3bn invested in about 260 funds and over EUR 11.4bn in guarantees, EIF is a major player in improving access to finance for European SMEs. With a focus on high-tech and early-stage investments, EIF is a major investor in both core and emerging European venture markets while EIF’s guarantee activity has provided indirect support to over 670,000 SMEs since 1994 – of which some 180,000 in 2006 – with a significant role in microfinance.

For further information, please contact Delphine Munro, d.munro@eif.org , +352 42 66 88 237, or visit www.eif.org/jeremie


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