The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term credit institution, is financing environmental and urban development projects in Prague. The 50 million Euro loan for 15 years to the City of Prague will be used for improving the water and sewerage networks including treatment plants for both fresh and used water. The investments will relieve pressure on a number of infrastructure bottlenecks and improve the urban environment. The improvements to the water network should sharply reduce distribution losses and improve the efficiency and profitability to the treatment plants.

Commenting on the loan, EIB Vice-President Wolfgang Roth said: "This is the first EIB loan to the City of Prague and will be followed by further EIB financing of water and transport schemes in the Czech capital. But it follows numerous successful financing operations by the EIB benefiting environmental schemes implemented by municipalities in several Central and Eastern European countries".

The loan to the City of Prague brings total EIB financing in the Czech Republic since 1993 to nearly 1.9 billion Euro. The largest schemes financed so far are the modernisation of the main railway lines, the extension of the motorway network, upgrading of secondary roads, the telecommunications network, environment-friendly investments in several coal-fired power stations in northern Bohemia and the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged during recent floods in northern Moravia. A large number of small and medium-scale industrial and tourism ventures, as well as some smaller municipal infrastructure and environmental schemes were financed through several global loans (credit lines) to Czech banks.

Since 1990, the EIB has lent some 9 billion Euro in twelve Central and Eastern European countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In 1999 the EIB is to lend another 3 billion Euro in Central Europe. Part of this comes under the special Pre-Accession Facility set up to help the ten accession countries in the region to prepare for EU membership.

1 euro = 0.666300 GBP, 38.3930 CZK.