The European Investment Bank has signed a loan for a total amount of EUR 130 million to support education facilities throughout the city of Helsinki.

This loan incorporates the construction as well as the expansion and upgrading of facilities of several comprehensive, upper secondary and vocational school buildings. The investment will provide additional places for some 5.000 students and will rationalize the geographical supply of educational facilities, ensuring an optimal use of resources. The project, with its human capital and education focus, is fully compatible with the EIB's Innovation Initiative (i2010i).

Mr Ewald Nowotny, the EIB Vice-president responsible for Finland, said: The project and investment programme will improve the quality of the educational facilities. The EIB is pleased to finance this project which fits perfectly in the EIB's Innovation 2010 Initiative.

Ms. Eva-Riitta Siitonen, Lord Mayor of the City of Helsinki, said: Effective primary, secondary and university education provide a foundation of basic skills to enable individuals to play a full role in civil society. Appropriate investment in equipment, premises and facilities will provide a basis for continuing, lifelong learning. The EIB loan will help making this possible.

The European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term lending institution, finances capital investment furthering EU integration, in particular: regional development, trans-European networks in transport, telecoms and energy; industrial competitiveness and integration; SMEs; environmental protection; and energy security. It also operates outside the EU within the framework of the EU's co-operation external policy. Owned by the Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets (AAA issuer). In 2002, the EIB lent some EUR 39 billion within the EU of which EUR 744 million was in Finland.