The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending the Czech Republic EUR 170 million for upgrading the country's motorway network. The loan is made available to the Roads and Motorways Directorate via the Czech Government and brings total EIB lending for this scheme to EUR 400 million (1). It will support the construction of various sections - totalling some 80 km - of the Czech motorway network, mainly on Pan-European Priority Corridor IV. It brings total EIB lending for projects in the Czech Republic to EUR 2652 m, of which EUR 820 million were for road and motorways schemes.

Commenting on the loan, EIB Vice-President Wolfgang Roth said: 'More than half of the EUR 2.7 billion we have lent in the Czech Republic so far went to transport schemes. The various road, motorway and railway improvement schemes financed by the EIB are crucial for reducing travel time for trans-European transport and for improving safety and comfort for travellers. The EIB is thus keeping up its support for the integration of the transport networks of the Czech Republic and the European Union while helping to eliminate remaining bottlenecks.'

The EIB, the European Union's financing arm, provided its first loan for Czech projects in 1992 and since, lent more in the Czech Republic than in any other Central European country except Poland. In addition to transport schemes, the EIB financed in particular the Czech telecommunications fixed network, environment-friendly investments in several coal-fired power stations in northern Bohemia, municipal infrastructure and the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged during the 1997 floods in northern Moravia. Small and medium-scale industrial and energy investments are being financed through global loans (credit lines) to commercial banks established in the Czech Republic.

Since 1990, the EIB has lent some EUR 15 billion to projects in the ten Central European Accession countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. 

(1) 1 EUR : 0.628500 GBP; 34.3220 CZK.