The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, is providing a total of EUR 106.6 million to the Concessionaire ATTIKI ODOS S.A. (AO), for completing the new Athens peripheral motorway.

The loan is the last tranche of a larger facility of EUR 998 million approved by the EIB in July 1996 and May 2000 and is being made available in tranches over the construction period of the project (1997-2003) to AO, as well as to the Hellenic Republic.

The new motorway linking Elefsis-Stavros-Spata and Imittos is being completed on time and on budget. Together with the new Athens international airport, "Eleftherios Venizelos" also financed by the Bank, is one of the largest and most needed transport projects ever undertaken in Greece.

The new Athens peripheral motorway will relieve the city centre from through traffic and will provide access to the "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport. It will contribute to creating a healthier environment in the Greek capital and will serve the Olympics 2004 in Athens.

The motorway is part of the PATHE main road axis supported jointly by the Community Support Framework II (CSF II) and the EIB. The PATHE axis is a key project included in the priority list of Trans-European Network projects (TENs) approved by the Essen European Council.

The new motorway, is expected to serve 207 000 vehicles per day in 2003, its first year of full operation. As demonstrated in environmental studies, air and noise pollution, community severance and impact on archaeological sites will be well addressed.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the financing institution of the European Union (EU) was created in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome. Owned by the EU's Member States, EIB's mission is to further the political objectives of the EU by providing long-term finance for specific capital investment projects. The task of identifying and appraising projects to be financed is entrusted to the Bank. Within the EU, where the largest part of its lending takes place, the EIB contributes primarily towards building a closer-knit Europe, particularly in terms of economic integration and greater social cohesion.

Outside the EU, the Bank also makes significant amounts available under technical cooperation and development aid policies established by the EU in favor of non EU-member countries.