The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, is lending a total of ECU 280 million (1) to Poland for financing two major motorway projects on corridors which were earmarked for urgent construction or upgrading by the Pan-European Transport Ministers' Conferences in Crete (1994) and Helsinki (1997).

  • ECU 150 million are for upgrading of 25 km of the A4 motorway between Sosnica and Murckowska, in the Katowice region of southern Poland. The project is part of the high priority Trans-European motorway Berlin-Dresden-Wroclaw-Katowice-Krakow-Rzeszow-Kiev, whereas
  • ECU 130 million are for building a 13.3 km bypass on the A-2 motorway around the city of Poznan in western Poland. The A2 Motorway is part of the Trans-European Corridor II, from Berlin to Moscow via Poznan, Warsaw and Minsk.

These two loans bring to some ECU 2.1 billion the total made available by the EIB for transport, energy, telecommunications, industry and environmental projects in Poland since 1990.

Commenting EIB lending in Poland, Vice-President Wolfgang Roth said: `The development of adequate infrastructures is a necessary condition for advancing on the road to EU membership, but a lack of suitable financing, notably long-term credits, remains a major constraint in many candidate countries. By doubling its lending to projects in the Central European countries this year, the EIB clearly shows that it wants to contribute to growth and employment and to accelerate accession.'

The EIB was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to provide loan finance for capital investment furthering European Union policies. While strengthening weaker EU Regions has always been its main goal, the Bank also lends to projects outside the European Union under the EU's co-operation policy toward third countries. During 1998-99, loans totalling ECU 5.5 billion will be channelled to projects in the ten Central European countries preparing for EU membership. Owned by the fifteen Member States, the EIB raises the bulk of its funds on the capital markets where its bond issues are consistently graded `AAA', the best credit rating.

(1) Conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 30/06/1998, when 1 ECU = 1.98 DEM, 0.66 GBP,1.09590 USD, 3.81646 PLN.