The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing Entsorgungsverband Saar (EVS) with a credit facility of DEM 500 million for modernisation of Saarland's wastewater collection and disposal system.

The EIB funds will cover up to half the costs of planning, construction and commissioning of 11 new sewage treatment plants and upgrading of 7 existing plants in order to comply with German and European standards. In addition, these schemes will serve to divert rainwater from the treatment plants, limit overflow of untreated sewage to surface waters and create hydraulic storage capacity to regulate river flows. The modernisation works will contribute substantially to improving the Saar's water quality as well as that of the Mosel and Rhine and ultimately the North Sea.

EIB lending operations in Germany rose sharply in the past year to over DEM 7 000 million. While these centred mainly on well-known large infrastructural and industrial schemes, it is less widely known that the Bank also supports projects of a more modest size costing up to DEM 25 million. For these purposes the EIB has provided a dozen partner institutions in Germany with special credit lines, known as "global loans", the proceeds of which can be directed towards financing smaller-scale ventures.

On 31 December 1997, ECU 1 = GBP 0.67, IEP 0.77, DEM 1.98 and USD 1.10.