The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 43 million to Hungary for financing six environmental schemes in a number of cities and towns throughout Hungary. The EIB funds will be utilised for the modernising and upgrading of two wastewater projects (Györ and Szeged) and four solid waste management projects (Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged and Szolnok). The EIB is co-financing these projects with the European Commission which is providing grant financing under its ISPA programme designed to further urgent environmental and transport projects in the Accession countries. 

The framework loan signed by the EIB and the Hungarian Government was the first of its kind and is likely to be followed by a number of similar transactions under which the Bank makes available suitable long-term funds for environmental schemes which have already been earmarked for ISPA support. 

This framework loan for local environmental schemes brings to nearly EUR 2.2 billion the total lent by the EIB to projects in Hungary since 1990. At the beginning, the Bank concentrated on public infrastructure - roads, the railways, air traffic and the telecommunications network. More recently the Bank shifted its attention also to other public services like water and sewage schemes as well as power and gas distribution. In addition, the EIB may also offer suitable long-term financing to health and education projects in the Accession Countries.

The EIB is the European Union's long-term financing arm and is steadily increasing its lending in the Accession Countries. Earlier this year the EIB and the Hungarian Government signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, which fixed the annual volume of favourable long-term EIB loans to public sector projects in Hungary at EUR 300 million. This amount is earmarked for financing up to 50% of the investment costs of eligible projects included in Hungary's multi-annual sector programmes.