The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides two loans totaling to EUR 70 million for modernisation of educational facilities and construction of new schools in the City of Oulu and the Oulu Region in the North of Finland.

The EIB financing is in favour of two borrowers, as follows:

  • EUR 25 million to the Oulu Region Joint Authority for Vocational Training, the largest educational joint authority in Finland, that covers the City of Oulu and 11 surrounding municipalities. The loan will support new facilities for vocational training and polytechnic education;
  • EUR 45 million to the City of Oulu to upgrade and extend its educational facilities. This investment will help the city to comply with the future needs to increase education and childcare capacity due to an expected growth in the number of young families into the city over the next few years.

Mr Sauli Niinistö, the EIB Vice-President responsible for Finland, Sweden, the Baltic States and Russia, commented on the loans signed today: The EIB is pleased to continue its cooperation with Oulu and its Region by supporting new build and refurbishment of educational facilities required to cater for changing demographic and labour market trends. These investments are consistent with EIB's key objective of promoting a knowledge-based society.

EIB's lending priority of supporting investment leading to the establishment of a knowledge-based society in Europe is based on the conclusions of the EU Lisbon Summit in 2000. The EIB's approach to implementation of the Lisbon Strategy is focused on the links between knowledge creation and the market. It involves all phases of the education cycle, Research and Development, the transformation of innovation into investment, productivity gains and increased competitiveness of the European economy.

The task of the EIB, the European Union's financing institution, is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States. Outside the Union the EIB implements the financial components of agreements concluded under European development aid and cooperation policies.

The EIB has already provided two loans to promoters in Oulu: EUR 50.5 million loan to the City of Oulu for the rehabilitation and upgrading of urban infrastructure covering roads and bridges, water and sewage treatment, port facilities, district heat and electricity networks. Another loan of approximately EUR 10 million (as part of a wider facility) was granted to Technopolis Plc last year for the construction and modernisation of laboratory and research premises at the Oulu Science Park.

The Bank has extended loans to Finland amounting to EUR 4.5 billion since 1995. EIB investments in human capital involving education and health sectors from 1999 to date has been substantial representing approximately EUR 740 million or more than 20% of the total lending in this period.