The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 125 million loan to Elia, the Belgian transmission system operator, to finance investments in upgrading its grid.

The EIB loan will be used mainly to increase interconnection capacity at the borders (Belgium-France and Belgium-Netherlands) and on modifications to the grid in Belgium in order to maintain security of supply, while at the same time contributing to the opening up of the electricity market in Europe. The projects submitted by Elia were subjected to a stringent assessment based on technical, financial and environmental criteria -- as per the usual appraisal procedures at the EIB.

Elia, the Belgian transmission system operator, will invest some EUR 625 million to upgrade and expand its high-voltage grid by 2009. If to this we add investments related to the maintenance and overhaul of facilities, then the investment will total EUR 800 million.

Philippe Maystadt, President of the EIB, and Daniel Dobbeni, Chairman of Elia's Management Committee, signed the financing contract on 19 December 2005 in Brussels.

The European Investment Bank finances capital investment furthering EU objectives, in particular: the development of trans-European transport, telecom and energy networks, which are essential to the economic and social integration of the European Union. It is now the main source of funding for the trans-European networks (TENs), with more than EUR 75 billion in funding, of which EUR 9 billion has so far been earmarked for energy networks.

Elia is Belgium's electricity transmission grid operator, in charge of transmitting electricity from the generators to local distribution system operators and large industrial consumers. Elia's network is a key link between France, the largest electricity exporter, and the North European electricity markets, as well as Belgium's generators and consumers. Elia has about 1.250 employees and a capitalization of over 1.5 billion euro. Visit for more information.