The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, has approved to provide ECU 100 million for the modernisation of the metro network in Romania's capital Bucharest. Following a first tranche of ECU 20 million signed in December 1996, a second tranche of ECU 20 million has been signed today in Bucharest. Investments mainly comprise the acquisition of technologically advanced trains for the network's most important line and the completion of the construction and equipment of a 3.3 km section between the North Railway Station and 1st May Square. The EIB loan is extended to Romania for on-lending to the Bucharest metro operator, METROREX. The investments will be financed by the EIB and the Romanian Government.

The contract signed today increases to ECU 495 million the total to date lent by the EIB in Romania where it has mainly financed important rehabilitation and modernisation investment in the transport, energy and telecommunications sectors. In addition, the Bank also furthers small and medium-scale industrial and tourism ventures under credit lines channelled through the Romanian banking sector.

Commenting the loan for the Bucharest metro, EIB's Vice-President Wolfgang Roth said: 'This loan highlights the EIB's strong support of infrastructure development in Romania, in particular for national and urban transport schemes contributing to economic development and, most importantly, to improved public services and living standards. At the same time, these investments have very positive effects on the environment. The Romanian sections of the trans-European networks (TENs), to which the EIB pays particular attention, are furthermore important for eventual accession to the European Union.'

Total EIB lending in the Central and Eastern European countries has now reached nearly ECU 5 billion. Countries in the region receiving EIB financing comprise Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

On 30/12/1996: 1 ECU = 5 182.39 ROL, 0.73 GBP, 1.25 USD.