East Europe banks in $30bn aid deal

Global finance bodies pledge money to help region tackle economic crisis.

    Thomas Mirow said the groups had a 'special responsibility for the region' [GALLO/GETTY]

    The funds are particularly aimed at allowing banks to help small- and medium-sized firms survive.

    "This initiative complements national crisis responses and will deploy rapid, large-scale and co-ordinated financial assistance from the international financial institutions to support lending to the real economy through private banking groups, in particular to small- and medium-sized enterprises," the financial bodies said in a statement.

    Financial turmoil

    Currencies in many eastern and central European countries have fallen dramatically in recent months, as the economic crisis takes hold.

    The International Monetary Fund has already made rescue loans available to Hungary, Latvia and Ukraine.

    European officials will meet at the weekend to discuss the prospect of further financial turmoil in the region.

    Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, has urged the officials to help Eastern Europe in an effort to maintain the progress made in the region since the collapse of communism. 

    "This is a time for Europe to come together to ensure that the achievements of the last 20 years are not lost because of an economic crisis that is rapidly turning into a human crisis," he said.

    The EBRD was founded in 1991 to assist former communist nations in making the transition into becoming market economies.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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