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World Bank, others, to fund $31B in loans

Feb. 27, 2009 at 3:20 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The World Bank said it had set up a $31 billion fund to help Central and Eastern European banks weather the financial crisis.

The fund was set up with the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the EU Observer reported Friday.

"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," World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a statement.

The plan includes lending to banks and providing capital to keep trade transactions flowing, the Observer said.

The World Bank will supply about $10 billion. The EBRD will supply about $14 billion, of which about $7 billion is already available for lending to banks in the European Union, most of the former Soviet Union and Turkey.

The fund assumes Russia is able to support itself, the report said.

Is it enough? Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said Thursday that Eastern European economies needed $228 billion to get through the current financial crisis.

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