The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term financing arm of the European Union (EU), announces a loan of EUR 100 million (ESP 16 600 million) (1) towards construction of a toll motorway designed to link the A6 Madrid-Galicia motorway with the town of Avila.

This capital project embraces construction of the 24.4 km Villacastín-Avila motorway together with a new tunnel under the Guadarrama mountain range plus a number of improvements to the A6 motorway. The sections making up the project form components of priority Trans-European Networks (TENs) or provide direct access to them. The EIB's long-term finance complements the medium-term credit being put up by those commercial banks contributing towards the project.

The project constitutes an exemplary Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The successful tenderer for the project works, Iberica de Autopistas S.A. (IBERPISTAS) was awarded the concession to design, build, finance and operate for a period of 32 to 37 years, the A6 motorway by the project promoter,the Spanish Ministry of Public Works and Transport, in 1999.

The EIB was founded in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community, with the aim of fostering enhanced integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion in the Member States by providing long-term financing for capital investment furthering attainment of EU objectives. It supports viable projects: fostering development of the EU's less favoured regions; targeting construction of trans-European transport, telecoms and energy networks; bolstering the international competitiveness and integration of European industry, particularly SMEs; safeguarding and improving the environment; endowing the EU with secure energy supplies; and promoting health and education facilities. Within certain limits, it also extends financing outside the Union in pursuit of the latter's policy of cooperation with third countries.

Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB funds its lending operations through borrowings raised on the capital markets, where its bond issues systematically enjoy the top AAA rating.

(1) 1 EUR = 166.386 ESP ; 0.62410 GBP