Belgium: EIB supports Aquafin’s wastewater projects
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 100 million financing deal with wastewater operator Aquafin. The operation is the second part of a EUR 200 million facility agreed in December 2014 and is the ninth operation with this counterpart.
The funds will be used for the construction of collectors, solving bottlenecks in the existing sewage infrastructure, separating stray water and rain water from the sewage network, as well as the construction of new and upgrading of existing treatment facilities.
“The first collaboration between Aquafin and the EIB dates back to 1994 and the Bank has since become an important player in the drinking- and waste water sectors in Belgium." says EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom about the signing. "I'm glad that we can contribute to the important work that Aquafin is doing, which all too often is not very visible with the wider public. Even since her founding in 1990 Aquafin has managed to raise the percentage of water being treated from 30% to over 80% and the investment we're doing today is a tangible implication of the European and Belgian priorities for man and nature."
The Flemish Region continues to invest in the expansion and optimisation of the inter-municipal infrastructure for waste water treatment. It does so by giving Aquafin a yearly project plan which, as of 2010, is being added on to with projects from the so-called “local pact”. By taking on part of the investments in sewage infrastructure and by having them carried out through Aquafin, the Flemish Region lightens the financial pressure with the municipalities.
“In 2015 the Flemish Region heightened the budget within the “local pact” framework by EUR 150 million, spread out over five years. As of the next programming year we will therefore receive another EUR 130 million worth of this kind of projects for a five-year period.” says Luc Bossyns, managing director of Aquafin. “To meet these goals we find institutional investors who are willing to invest in our projects, but half of our financing needs is still being met by the EIB, which means that this new EUR 100 million operation is extremely important for Aquafin as well as for Flanders.”