The European Investment Bank is lending a total of EUR 405 million to four priority projects in Poland, including two framework loans dedicated to regional development and for the first time in a candidate country, to health and education.
- EUR 250 million to the Republic of Poland will help the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture and Rural Development to counter the effects of the devastating floods in the Vistula River basin earlier this year. The EIB funds will be allocated to individual schemes aimed at rebuilding and modernising flood prevention infrastructure helping avoid similar catastrophes in the future;
- EUR 80 million to PKP-Polski Linie Kolejowe (PLK), will help the new infrastructure company of Polish Railways to eliminate bottlenecks on several railway lines, mainly along the Pan-European Corridors;
- EUR 50 million to Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) will finance regional development schemes. The loan will indirectly provide co-financing for projects supported under the EU Phare funded Social and Economic Cohesion programme as well as other infrastructure projects, including urban renewal schemes, undertaken by municipalities, counties and regions (gminas, powiat and voivodships);
- EUR 25 million to the City of Lodz will be used for refurbishing hospitals and upgrading healthcare facilities, as well as for the generalisation of computer and internet support in schools and the modernisation of sports facilities;
Commenting on the loans, Mr. Terence Brown, EIB's Director-General for Lending said 'With Accession close, EIB feels that its role in assisting the Country's preparation for EU membership becomes wider and deeper. As with previous enlargements, EIB finance helps to accelerate the implementation of priority projects that facilitate European integration and promote regional development. Loans signed today bring appropriate emphasis to sectors that the Bank has been traditionally involved with, as upgrading of the railways network and projects with regional development content; two of the projects also benefit from EU grant support under the ISPA and the PHARE programmes. The EIB is prepared to respond to emergencies rapidly and with suitable financing. Like four years ago, when the Bank helped overcome problems from the Oder floods in Silesia, the financing granted now will help to implement flood protection and prevention measures in areas along the Vistula River. The impact of the Bank's financing of these measures should be felt across a large part of the Polish population. Last but not least, investment in human capital is a new area eligible for EIB support and while the Lodz operation is the first of the kind in an Accession Country the sector needs and deserves appropriate financing. Our lending to a broad range of investments demonstrates the Bank's determination to support Poland in its accession strategy.'
Since 1990 the EIB lent some EUR 4.7 billion to projects in Poland, more than in any other EU candidate. Over 1 billion went to Trans-European road and rail networks (TENs), with emphasis on upgrading major international road and railway axes. Telecommunications, gas and larger industry schemes also attracted substantial loans from the EIB. Small and medium-scale industrial investments as well as smaller energy or infrastructure projects are being furthered through global loans (credit lines) to commercial banks established in Poland. The EIB also helped rebuild infrastructure damaged during the 1997 floods in Silesia.
Since 1990, the EIB has lent over EUR 15 billion to projects in the ten Central European EU applicants: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. The Bank plans to lend EUR 3 billion annually in these countries between now and their accession to the EU.