Güneş Kömürcüler - Hürriyet Daily News / Istanbul, May 11 () - The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to invest around 2.5 billion euros in Turkey this year, EIB Vice Chairman Pim Van Ballekom has said in a special interview with Hürriyet Daily News.
“We invested 2.1 billion euros in Turkey last year and we plan [to invest] 2.5 billion euros this year. But everyone is focusing on figures. For me, this is less important. Speed matters much more. It all depends on the quality of the projects. We only finance 50 percent of a project. We always need other finances as well. If the project is good, it is no problem for it to find financing,” he said.
The EIB has financed around 11 billion euros in Turkey over the last five years, according to the bank’s figures. This is the highest level since the bank started its operations in Turkey in 1963 and represents a yearly average of 2 billion euros, more than a quarter of the bank’s non-EU financing around the globe.
“The bank was originally an infrastructure bank, so one-third of our portfolio is infrastructure, also in Turkey,” said Van Ballekom.
“We do one-third in healthcare and one-third on SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises]. We do it along with the commercial sectors in any country, and Turkey is not an exception,” he added.
24 billidn euros by 2020
The EIB and the European Commission launched a new generation of financial instruments to help innovative companies access finance more easily in 2014. In the framework of new program, named InnovFin, the bank will make more than 24 billion euros available to finance support research and innovation in Europe by 2020.
The InnovFin, EU Finance for Innovators, program is just for European Union members, but Turkey is an exception, as it is included in the program even through it is not part of the union, another EIB official recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The EIB will be providing loans and guarantees from 25 million to 300 million euros directly to European and Turkish companies to foster innovation, according to the bank’s website.
According to Van Ballekom, Turkey has a very good track record economically and the country has overcome economic problems far faster than many countries in the European Union.
“From that basis, to remain at such a high level of economic growth is not possible. There is always a curve in the growth rates due to elections or weather conditions,” he said, adding reform processes and structural measures are part of a continuous process.
“That is not the case, for example, in Germany to say we did what we had to 10 years ago and that is enough. It is not the case. This is a gradual process. We do not have the luxury to say we’ve done the reforms and let’s expect a dramatic rise in the investment inflow. Competitiveness rules are changing constantly, but the Turkish government is flexible enough to get the answers. We can concentrate on the reforms after the elections” he said.