The European Investment Bank (EIB) announces loans totalling EUR 241 million (1) for projects in Upper Austria:
- The Federal Province of Upper Austria is receiving EUR 107 million for construction of a 560-bed hospital in Völcklabruck; this loan from the financing institution of the European Union underpins the EU objective of ensuring high-quality, sustainable healthcare. The replacement of obsolete healthcare infrastructure will allow provision of first-class, state-of-the-art health services in terms of patient care, working methods and safety.
- EUR 84 million are being advanced to the Linz AG for extension of the public transport network in Linz; schemes to be financed include extension of the tram network, a new bus terminal and a tram underpass under the central railway station. This long-term EIB financing at favourable interest rates reduces the overall project cost and contributes in particular to improving the urban environment.
- The Raiffeisen Landesbank Oberösterreich (RLB) will draw on a EUR 50 million EIB credit line to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and smaller-scale local authority projects, especially in the fields of environmental protection and the rational use of energy.
These newly approved loans bring aggregate EIB financing in Upper Austria to EUR 553 million since Austria's accession to the EU. During today's signature of the contracts in Linz, EIB Vice-President Prof. Ewald Nowotny commented: "Until the mid-eighties, heavy industry was the cornerstone of the Upper Austrian economy. Although primary industry continues to be of significance for the local economy, the region has successfully geared itself more towards services, giving rise to a large number of new, mainly small, businesses in a multitude of sectors. The EIB offers suitable financing facilities both for upgrading infrastructure and for accommodating the needs of SMEs."
The EIB, with its headquarters in Luxembourg, is the EU's long-term project financing arm. Its shareholders are the 15 EU Member States. With a lending volume of EUR 36 billion in 2000, the EIB was again the world's leading multilateral financial institution. The EIB's remit is to support EU priority objectives: regional development, expansion of trans-European transport and telecommunications networks (TENs), security of energy supplies, environmental protection and urban renewal, health and education and promotion of SMEs and innovative companies in general. Total EIB lending in Austria since 1995 amounts to EUR 3.7 billion.
(1) 1 EUR = 0.624 GBP ; 13.7603 ATS