The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term lending institution, is providing EUR 60 million (1) for works to protect the environment in Mersin, on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

This EIB loan signed under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Mandate II,will benefit from an interest rate subsidy of up to 3% financed from EU "MEDA" Budgetary resources earmarked for environmental projects. The EIB loan is made available for 20 years to the Mersin Water and Sewerage Administration (MESKI) - the water and wastewater Administration of the Metropolitan Municipality of Mersin. 

The project will provide the first wastewater treatment plant in the city of Mersin, which includes the construction of a full biological wastewater treatment plant, outfall pumping stations and deep-sea outlet. The project contributes to the environmental protection of the Mediterranean sea and increases the quality of life in the greater metropolitan Mersin, a rapidly expanding city with a current population of around 700,000. The population is forecasted to reach some 1.8 million within the project's planning horizon in the year 2025. 

The project has been identified and defined by a study funded under the METAP grant facility (2). Through synergies, this project will reinforce previous EIB funding of wastewater treatment systems of the nearby cities of Adana and Tarsus, which dischare into the same bay.

The EIB is a lead player in implementing the European Union's priority objectives. In 2000, EIB financing for projects supporting European Union policy objectives totalled EUR 36 billion (up 13% on 1999). EUR 30.6 billion went to projects within the EU Member States and close to EUR 3 billion to those in the Accession Countries, while lending in other countries ran to over EUR 2.4 billion. To fund these activities, the EIB borrowed EUR 29 billion on the world's capital markets.

Since 1995, the EIB has contributed some EUR 800 million towards projects of key importance for the Turkish economy. EIB finance for infrastructure went mainly for environmental projects and the earthquake reconstruction effort. Among the projects financed in Turkey are: the wastewater and effluent treatment systems in Adana, Diyarbakir, Izmit and Tarsus; the desulphurisation equipment at the Yeniköy power station on the Aegean coast and the construction of more environment-friendly power and heating plants.

The EIB has also promoted SMEs through global loans to local commercial banks.

(1) Conversion rates: EUR 1 = TRL 1,067,000 at 30.06.2001

(2) In addition to providing finance for environmental protection projects, in 1990 the EIB helped to launch the "Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Programme" (METAP). Over ten years, the Bank has provided nearly EUR 15 million in the form of grants for technical assistance and the preparation of some 70 environmental protection projects.