The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending institution of the European Union which is owned by its 28 Member States, Wednesday announced that it supported the European economy with 67.1 billion euro and provided 7.7 billion euro to projects outside the European Union. EIB President Werner Hoyer presenting his annual report at a press conference in Brussels said the bank borrowed 72 billion euro in 2013. "We cooperate closely with the Gulf countries," he said and noted that "EIB Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive is a frequent traveller to this part of the world," in reply to a question by the Kuwait news agency, KUNA. On his part, Fontiane Vive said that "the partnership (with Gulf countries) is not only on the borrowing side but also on the assets side because we want to work with them for financing activities within the EU and outside the EU," he said. "On the borrowing side they are more than 10 percent of what we expect on our funding sides, and what we are discussing with them is the investment within the EU and possibly operational activities in the Southern Mediterranean countries that they are very much interested in," he added. "I believe that we have a lot of EU expertise to marry with the Gulf financing," he added and noted that they signed an operational agreement last year with the Islamic Development Bank. The EIB invested 583 million euro in Mediterrranean countries including 90 mn euro in a wind farm project in Jordan, 760,000 euro in microfinance in Palestine, and 350 mn euro on the Bosporous tunnel in Turkey. Hoyer, however, warned that "investment remains below pre-crisis levels almost everywhere in Europe and is hampering Member States' growth potential." "We are falling behind in terms of global competitiveness because countries outside the EU are investing at a much higher level in technology and innovation than the EU and the majority of its Member States," he said and called on Europe to take make further investment in research and development, innovation.