The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, is making available EUR 100 million to the Federal State of Styria for upgrading Graz University Clinic and 6 other hospitals as well as renewing medical and technical equipment and IT infrastructure in all public hospitals. The Federal State will pass on the funds to Steiermärkische Krankenanstaltengesellschaft mbH, its wholly-owned hospital company.

EIB lending in the health sector underpins the EU's objective of guaranteeing high-quality, sustainable healthcare. The replacement of obsolete healthcare infrastructure will ensure the provision of first-class, state-of-the-art health services in terms of patient care, working methods and safety.

At today's contract signing in Graz, EIB Vice-President Prof. Ewald Nowotny announced: "This EIB loan will be used to finance projects meeting Austria's long-term healthcare objectives included in Styria's hospital plan. Styria is now the third Federal State - after Lower and Upper Austria - in which the EIB is supporting healthcare projects with its long-term loans. Hospital upgrading will ensure the provision of high-quality health services based on the latest medical and technical equipment throughout the country".

With its headquarters in Luxembourg, the EIB is the EU's long-term project financing arm. Its shareholders are the 15 EU Member States. With a lending volume of EUR 37 billion, in 2001 the EIB was once again the world's leading multilateral financing institution. The Bank's remit is to further the EU's 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 the promotion of SMEs and innovative companies as a whole. Total EIB lending in Austria since 1995 amounts to some EUR 4 billion.