The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, is providing a loan of up to EUR 400 million (GRD 136 billion) (1) in support of primary and secondary school facilities in Greece. The investments are located mainly in Attica, where phasing out two-shift schooling is a State priority. The financing agreements were signed today in Athens by the management of the School Building Organisation S.A. in the presence of Mr P. Efthimiou, Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs.
The 20 year loan goes to the School Building Organisation S.A. (SBO), which has been, since 1962, largely responsible for the development of school facilities in Greece. It was transformed into a private company with the Greek State as its sole shareholder in 1998.
The project consists of four main elements, the first three of which concern Attica:
- Acquisition of some 100 plots of land to erect schools,
- Refurbishment and expansion of some 400 buildings, including the provision of more than 3500 classrooms,
- Upgrading existing schools by equipping them with laboratories, libraries, sports' facilities as well as multiple use halls,
- Provision of furniture, educational and office equipment in schools all over the country.
The EIB loan covers almost 50% of the total cost of the project, which is co-financed with State transfers and grants under the Community Support Framework III (CSF III) for Greece.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to provide loan finance for capital investment furthering European Union objectives. It participates in the implementation of EU policies towards third countries that have co-operation or association agreements with the Union. In 2000, the EIB provided loans totalling some EUR 36 billion, of which EUR 1 712 million (GRD 583 billion) for projects in Greece. In 2001, new loans in Greece are expected to exceed 1 000 million EUR; until to date, the total EIB lending to Greece amounts to EUR 719 million (GRD 245 billion). The Bank borrows the funds for its lending on the capital markets. Its bonds have regularly been rated "AAA" by the leading rating agencies. As the EIB works on a non-profit basis it can pass on to project promoters the excellent conditions it obtains on the markets. The EIB normally finances up to 50 percent of project cost; on average it provides one third of the funding and co-finances investments with other institutions.
(1) 1 EUR :340.760 GRD, 0.915800 USD