The European Investment Bank, the European Union's financing arm, is donating up to ECU 1 million for immediate flood relief in the Czech Republic and Poland. The Bank also stands ready to adjust its lending priorities for the two countries to assist flood-related reconstruction efforts. The European Commission has also agreed to rush humanitarian aid to Central and Eastern European countries hit by catastrophic floods.

EIB Vice President Wolfgang Roth who is on an official visit to the Czech Republic outlined the EIB flood aid package in Prague today. The EIB's donation will be directed to specific projects and action benefiting immediately the flood stricken areas of the two countries. In the case of Poland, an amount has already been earmarked for the restoration of the historical center of Wroclaw, in particular the 18th century university library. In the Czech Republic schools and scientific facilities are likely to be assisted. The Bank has also offered to help reconstruction in those sectors in which it is traditionally active.

The EIB has advanced nearly ECU 5 billion for investment in eleven Central and Eastern European countries since 1990. Of this, over ECU 1.4 billion has gone towards projects in Poland and nearly ECU 1 billion in the Czech Republic.

The EIB will lend up to ECU 3.5 billion over the next three years. In addition to this the Bank, at the request of the Council of Ministers, will also create a substantial pre-accession lending facility to support preparation of EU membership.

The conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 30/6/1997, when ECU 1 = 0.68 GBP, 6.64 FRF, 1.13 USD, 0.75 IEP, 36.5913 CZK, 3.6607 PLN.