Global lenders pledge $38 billion to east Europe

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VIENNA — International lenders will support eastern Europe with more than $38 billion in the next two years to shield it from the impact of the euro area’s debt crisis, mimicking a plan they implemented in 2009.

The European Investment Bank, based in Luxembourg, the Washington-based World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London agreed today on a action plan for the region, they said in a joint statement. Under the initiative, they will loan to and invest in private and public-sector initiatives including infrastructure, corporations and the financial industry.

Eastern Europe has been hit by the slowdown in the euro region, its biggest export market and main source of investment and bank financing. Exports have fallen “significantly” in most countries in the region in recent months, the EBRD said last month. Western European lenders have continued to cut capital and funding in the east, where they own about three-quarters of the banking industry.

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