The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term financing institution of the European Union (EU), announces a loan for EUR 90 million (ESP 14.9 billion) for financing construction of two components of Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences: the Museum of Sciences and the Oceanographic Park.

The project is located in the former bed of the River Turia, which is currently being rehabilitated through the building of parks and sports and cultural facilities. The City of Arts and Sciences' main objective will be to foster the spread of scientific knowledge and development of the information society, thereby playing an important role in the region's educational system. The project will also help to upgrade and diversify local tourist amenities by adding a new cultural element to the broad range of more traditional attractions. The region is one of Spain's main tourist destinations, the bulk of visitors coming from other parts of the country.

EIB operations in the fields of urban renewal and education come under the Amsterdam Special Action Programme (ASAP), launched by the Bank in response to the Amsterdam European Council of June 1997. To date, projects approved in these sectors amount to EUR 5.3 billion (ESP 880 billion) in all, including a range of schemes in Spain totalling EUR 718 million (ESP 119 billion). In the field of urban renewal, EIB loans have helped to finance works in the Balearic Islands, rehabilitation of historic monuments and their surroundings in Andalusia, and both the construction of the International Trade Centre and rebuilding of the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona. In the education sector, the EIB has financed university infrastructure in Andalusia and the Valencia Region, as well as secondary education facilities in Galicia.

The EIB was created in 1958 under the founding treaty of the European Economic Community, the Treaty of Rome. It was set up to contribute to the integrated and balanced development of the Member States, as well as to their economic and social cohesion, by providing long-term finance for capital investment fulfilling EU objectives.Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB raises the resources for its lending operations on the capital markets, where its bond issues are consistently rated AAA.