The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, has approved a Framework Loan of up to EUR 250 million to finance reconstruction of basic infrastructure in Romania that was severely damaged by floods in March and April this year.

In addition, the Bank will provide a donation of EUR 500 000 for flood relief in the affected areas. The Romanian Council of Ministers has indicated that the donation will be used for the reconstruction of education and health facilities.

EIB loan will be used to part-finance urgent reconstruction and prevention works. Schemes targeted will concern basic infrastructure and hydraulic facilities, in order to restore normal living conditions and reduce the risks of recurrence of similar disasters. The damaged infrastructure concerns railway lines, roads, ports and canals on the river Danube and a variety of municipal facilities. Flood protection measures concern mainly river dikes, overflow canals and retention reservoirs.

Project implementation will be the responsibility of the Romanian Ministries of Transport and of Waters, Forests and Environmental Protection. Nevertheless, as eligible schemes are technically independent and geographically dispersed throughout the country, both Ministries will assign responsibility for the physical implementation of the various components to implementing Agencies, including public agencies operating nationwide (National Administration of Roads, Romanian Railways, Danube River Navigation and Ports Administration, Romanian Waters Company, National Forests Administration, etc) and municipal administrations.

The EIB, established in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome, finances capital investment projects which further the European Union (EU) policy objectives. It also participates in the implementation of the EU's co-operation policy towards third countries that have co-operation or association agreements with the Union.

Since 1990, more than EUR 10 billion has been lent to projects in the ten Central European countries which have applied for EU membership. Owned by the Member States, the EIB raises the bulk of its funds on the capital markets worldwide where its bond issues regularly benefit from the Bank's 'AAA' credit rating.

1 EUR = GBP 0.6323, ROL 20416.4