The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on Monday signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in agriculture and rural development in 2014-2020.
The first of its kind in the field of agriculture, this MoU paves the way for common initiatives by both institutions, so as to stimulate rural development and boost the utilization of financial instruments supported by rural development funds in the European Union (EU), an EU statement said.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos said, "This MoU will bring the agri-food sector closer to financial instruments needed to increase competitiveness and innovation."
He said farmers will have easier access to funding to back their investment decisions, while member states and stakeholders will also greatly benefit from the EIB's support and experience on financial instruments and strategic investment.
The EIB, long-term lending institution of the EU owned by the 28 member states, will bring its experience in the development of financial instruments, which play an increasingly important role to support competitiveness and innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural businesses, according to the statement.
Under the MoU, the EIB will be able to advise EU member states and regions in defining investment strategies and projects. The EIB will also put emphasis on agriculture and rural businesses in its operational program and its interventions