The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, is providing €100 million ($97.15 million) for the health sector in Syria. This is the Bank's first operation in the health sector in the Mediterranean Partner Countries.
The loan is made available to the Ministry of Health for assisting the Syrian Arab Republic with its health sector modernization program. EIB funds will be for the necessary equipment and furnishing of fifteen 120-bed general hospitals throughout the country, which have been almost completed.
The investment will improve quality of life through better access to acute and elective hospital services. It is financed under the Bank's second Euro-Med mandate covering the period 2000-2006, and will be implemented in close cooperation with the European Commission.
This is EIB's third loan to Syria since operations resumed in 2000 and 2001 with two loans for the country's electricity sector totaling €190 million. Since 1978 the EIB has committed more than €200 million for the purpose of financing capital projects in Syria essential for the country's economic development.
The EIB established in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome, finances capital investment projects, which further European Union policy objectives. It also helps implement the EU's co-operation policies towards third countries. In the Mediterranean region the EIB operates under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which complements the EU Member States' own bilateral co-operation policies.
Under the second financing mandate of the Euro-Med Partnership covering the period 2000-2006, the EIB is to provide €6.425 billion for projects in the 12 Mediterranean countries, which have signed co-operation or association agreements with the EU.
The EIB is giving a particular focus to supporting efforts to develop a more open economy and to assist companies in preparing for market liberalization, with a view to the progressive establishment of a free-trade area with the EU.
Further to the Barcelona European Council (March 15-16 , 2002), the EIB is set to increase cooperation with the Mediterranean Partner Countries by establishing a "reinforced Euro-Mediterranean investment facility" complemented by EIB representation in the region.
Operational by Autumn 2002, this Facility foresees increased financial resources, leading the EIB to expand its annual lending in the region from €1.5 billion to two billion euro. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )