Spain: European Investment Bank and Public Works Ministry sign agreement to provide EUR 5 billion for high-speed rail projects
Spain’s Public Works Minister, José Blanco, the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Philippe Maystadt, and the Chairman of Adif, Antonio González Marín, today signed in Madrid a Framework Agreement under which the EIB plans to provide EUR 5 billion in financing for projects to construct the country’s high-speed rail network.
At the signing ceremony, Mr Blanco said that the agreement would give “a major boost to the expansion of the high-speed network in Spain”, stressing that “once again, the European Union was making a key contribution to ensuring the progress of our country”. He thanked the EIB for its “commitment to Spain, and especially to its high-speed rail network” and expressed his confidence that this cooperation would “continue bearing fruit in the future”.
Mr Blanco also underscored the importance of expanding the high-speed network in Spain, saying that “high-speed rail plays a vital role in the development of any country by providing essential links and fostering sustainable growth”.
For his part, the EIB President paid tribute to “the excellent cooperation between the Bank’s operational staff and their counterparts at the Public Works Ministry and Adif in the financing of the Strategic Infrastructure and Transport Plan”, and highlighted the EIB’s contribution to the development of Spain’s high-speed rail network, as all the high-speed lines so far built in Spain have received financing from the Bank. Mr Maystadt described the agreement signed today as important “not only for the improvement it will make to the network of transport in general, and of clean transport in particular, but also for the volume of public investment it will bring, which will help to create employment and is of the utmost importance in the context of the current economic slowdown”.
The Agreement envisages that the infrastructure to be financed by the EIB will be implemented during the period 2010 to 2015 and will include the following projects: the Madrid-Badajoz (line towards Lisbon), Madrid-Alicante-Murcia and Valladolid-Burgos-Vitoria high-speed lines, enlargement of Madrid’s Atocha station, a new tunnel for high-speed use connecting Madrid’s Atocha and Chamartín stations, construction of the third and fourth tracks on the high-speed section between Torrejón de Velasco and Madrid, and the high-speed Valladolid-Galicia line. These are priority projects for both the Spanish Government and the European Union and will be carried out by Adif.
This is the third such Agreement, following those signed with the Public Works Ministry in 2002 and 2006, both of which were for EUR 10 billion and have been successfully carried out. In recent years, Spain has been the EIB’s largest borrower in terms of volume of operations: EUR 8 573 million in 2008 and EUR 37 725 million in the period 2004-2008.
“Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias” (Adif) is the public corporation, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Public Works, which among other remits is responsible for developing and managing the railway infrastructure. Created in 2005, it is in charge of the construction and administration of the railway infrastructure assigned by the Spanish Government under the Law on the Railway Sector and the Strategic Infrastructure and Transport Plan 2005-2020.
The European Investment Bank is the long-term financing institution of the European Union (EU), working to further European objectives. Created in 1957, it operates in the EU’s 27 Member States and in over 130 other countries across the world. The Bank’s financing is geared to well-defined European policies. Transport networks are one of the EU’s priorities owing to the contribution they make to fostering EU economic and social integration, the free movement of persons and goods and developing the Union’s less favoured areas.