A high-level delegation from the European Investment Bank, headed by EIB President Philippe Maystadt, is visiting Spain in order to hold talks with members of the government, the Governor of the Bank of Spain, civil servants and representatives of the financial community.

The Minister for Public Works and the President of the EIB have concluded an agreement aimed at fostering interinstitutional cooperation between the Ministry and the Bank. Under its Infrastructure Plan for the seven-year period 2000-2006, the Ministry wishes to encourage the involvement of financial and other economic operators in building partnerships with the private sector for the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of new infrastructure. The EIB will make available its broad experience in funding infrastructure and especially in introducing and structuring new financing models that facilitate the participation of private capital.

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; promoting 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; promoting health and education facilities; and furthering development of a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy.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.