Dear Werner, it’s a pleasure to see you. It would have been great had you been able to come to Greece for the signature of these two very important facilities, but unfortunately in the times of the pandemic we are forced to do things differently.
Dear ministers, today is a very important day for Greece and I think it’s also a very important day for the EIB; 2020 was an exceptionally good year in terms of our relationship. And I think we’re laying the foundations in order for 2021 to be even better, by signing two very, very important agreements today that are essentially streamlining the EIB with the central priorities of the Greek government as we are beginning to focus on the post-pandemic world.
As you know dear Werner, Greece yesterday tapped the international capital markets and for the first time in 13 years managed to issue a 30-year bond, which was 10 times oversubscribed and which generated significant interest among fixed-income investors.
I think it was just one indication that international investors and lenders place their faith in the long-term prospects of the country. And I think that the two loan programs that we will sign today are exactly focusing on those areas of growth and development which are highlights of our long-term growth strategy. Whether it is retrofitting public buildings -public hospitals, schools, public office buildings- through the ELECTRA facility or supporting a series of small- and medium-sized investments in making our municipalities more sustainable. Both of these programs will help Greece make the transition towards a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly future.
I want to focus in particular on the “Antonis Tritsis” program, a 2.5 billion program that has been designed by the Ministry of Interior to basically support municipalities and usher them towards a brighter and more sustainable future.
And that future depends on tackling climate change, cutting energy use, protecting communities from extreme weather conditions such as storms, floods and heat waves. And the “Antonis Tritsis” program gives Greek municipalities the financial tool to implement a series of investments, focused exactly on those critical sectors that will essentially improve their residents’ quality of life. And by signing this agreement with the Consignment Deposits and Loans Fund you add your financial power to the funds deployed by the Greek government in order to reach an overall envelope of 2.5 billion euros to support our municipalities. I consider this program to be of critical importance for the next years and I’m sure that the mayors and the prefects participating in this call feel exactly the same way.
We have received hundreds of proposals by municipalities. We have given them the initiative to tell us which are the projects that they consider to be of the utmost priority for the local community. So there is a strong local element, a strong element of regional, local development and social cohesion involved in the proposals.
And just to conclude, as we see the end of the pandemic in sight, as vaccinations pick up in pace, I think it is very important now to step up our effort to design the future in this post-pandemic world. Greece, as you know, has already submitted its plan for the Recovery and Resilience Fund, which has received very positive reviews by the European Union. And I am sure there will be numerous opportunities above and beyond the two agreements that will be signed today for our cooperation to further strengthen, to further deepen and for the EIB to be an integral part in Greece’s success.
I know how much value you have placed in the relationship between the EIB and Greece. I would like to thank you personally Werner, but also your teams and also your Athens team, for making sure that we have a very dynamic pipeline of new projects that can be funded through the EIB. And I am sure that once we leave the pandemic behind us for good you will have the opportunity to come and visit us and hopefully we’ll be able to sign more interesting agreements.
So, again thank you for all your support, the floor is yours.