The European Investment Bank, the European Union's financing arm, is providing ECU 75 million (1) to Romania for upgrading the national telecommunications network and the municipal district heating system of the City of Bucharest:
- ECU 40 million to ROMTELECOM S.A., the National Telecommunications company, will help finance the company's ongoing investment programme including the installation of new switching and transmission equipment and optical fibre cables, with a view to achieving a higher telephone density and allowing the introduction of new telecommunications services. With a first loan granted in 1995, total EIB financing for the modernisation of the Romanian telecommunications sector now reaches ECU 120 million.
- ECU 35 million will help RADET R.A., the operator of the Bucharest district heating system, to finance the rehabilitation of the heat distribution grid, at present suffering from leakages affecting the quality and efficiency of the service offered to the population of the capital.
Commenting on the loan, EIB Vice President Wolfgang Roth said: 'The EIB is the major provider of funds for financing infrastructure schemes in the Central and Eastern European countries, helping them to develop their transport, energy and telecommunications networks on cost-effective and durable basis and facilitating their integration with the European Union.'
The loans signed today bring EIB lending since 1991 for projects in Romania to ECU 570 million. Previous EIB loans mainly went to finance priority investments in favour of the road, gas, electricity and telecommunications sectors, as well as of the Bucharest metro, the port of Constanta and the country's air traffic control facilities. The EIB is also assisting the development of small and medium-size enterprises through its global loans (credit lines) to the Romanian banking sector.
The EIB has advanced some ECU 5.5 billion for investment projects in 11 Central and Eastern European countries since 1990. Under a mandate covering the years 1997 to 1999 the Bank is lending another ECU 3.5 billion in this region. In addition to this, the EIB, at the request of the European Council of Ministers, will also create a substantial pre-accession lending facility to support preparation of EU membership.
(1) The conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 30 September 1997, when ECU 1 = GBP 0.69, IEP 0.76, USD 1.113, ROL 8 473.27.