The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided CZK 4 billion (some EUR 140 million) for the construction of the D8 motorway connecting Prague with Dresden in Germany and EUR 110 million for the completion of the Prague motorway ring. Both loans constitute second tranches of finance provided by the EIB for the building of those motorway sections on trans-European corridor IV (TEN).

The first loan will finance the completion of the D8 motorway joining the Czech capital Prague to the northern border with Germany. The new four-lane road will provide the final 23 km missing motorway link between Prague and Dresden on the pan-European corridor connecting Berlin to Istanbul.

The second loan will be used for the construction of the southwest section of the Prague motorway ring that will link the two most important motorways in the Czech Republic: in the west the D5 motorway connecting Prague with the Czech/German border towards Nuremberg; and in the southeast the D1 motorway linking the Czech capital with the country's second biggest city Brno and Slovakia. When completed, the Prague motorway ring will significantly contribute to the improvement of the environment in the Czech capital. It will substantially reduce the number of cars transiting Prague, especially international transport lorries, which has increased significantly since the Czech Republic joined the EU in May 2004.

Mr Ivan Pilip, EIB Vice-President responsible for the Bank's financing operations in Poland, the Czech and the Slovak Republics, commented: The EIB strongly supports the construction and rehabilitation of transport infrastructure, especially the extension of the TEN corridors in the new Member States. I am particularly pleased that the two projects signed today are co-financed by the EU Cohesion Fund as they provide a good example of the combination of EIB loans with EU grants.

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.

Since 1990 the EIB, the long-term financing arm of the European Union, has provided loans in the Czech Republic worth around EUR 6 billion. Half of this sum has been invested in upgrading Czech communications infrastructure. In the new Member States of Central Europe, the EIB has since 1990 lent some EUR 31 billion to projects promoting European integration. The EIB is therefore the most important external source of bank finance for Central and Eastern Europe.