The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided €20m (£17.9m) to VÚB Leasing, a Slovakian lessor, to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps in the country.
The loan forms the second tranche of an original €50m agreement, and will support Slovakian businesses through leasing or loans. The EIB said the loan would be targeted at regional development, environmental, and knowledge-based economy projects.
The first tranche of €30m was provided to VÚB in May 2016, and has supported 100 projects across manufacturing, transport, and agriculture.
This most recent round of funding for Slovakia signals a return to focusing on EU countries following the EIB Group’s recent forays into the Western Balkans and countries in its Eastern partnership region.
The launch of the EU4Business initiative in Chișinău earlier this month, aimed at the EU’s Eastern partnership, prompted Moldova’s president to say it must not harm its relationship with Russia.
Vazil Hudák, EIV vice-president, said: “Support for SMEs and midcaps, representing a strategic segment of the national economies of EU member states, including Slovakia, is of crucial importance for both Slovakia and the EU bank.
“This sector is very flexible, with big potential to generate new job opportunities, particularly in rural, less advanced areas, and to contribute substantially to GDP creation.”