The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 25 million for the construction of the first phase for Bucharest's new wastewater treatment plant. It is the first installation of its kind in the Romanian Capital and will contribute to the improvement of the water quality of the Dambovita River and subsequently of the Danube. The project will support the further implementation of EU environmental standards in Romania, as the plant will operate in full compliance with respective EU Directives.

The plant - once both phases completed - will be one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in Europe covering almost 2 million citizens of Bucharest whose untreated effluents represent one of the main sources of water pollution of the Danube river basin. It is the biggest environmental project in Romania and it will be located in Glina, Ilfov County, in the southeast of Bucharest.

The EIB's loan signed today will be contracted by the Ministry of Public Finance that will on-lend the proceeds - to the Municipality of Bucharest. Further funding is provided by the European Union (ISPA grants)and the EBRD. The total cost of the complete plant has been estimated at EUR 266.5 million. The EIB will also contribute to the second phase with a further loan of about EUR 60 million.

The EIB's financing of the project underlines the successful cooperation of the Bank with the Municipality of Bucharest.

Examples of previous projects financed in the Romanian Capital include, school infrastructure rehabilitation, urban renewal projects, modernisation and extension of the city's heating and transport systems as well as the modernisation of metro trains and the rehabilitation of an underground line.

The EIB, the European Union's financing institution, finances sound investments that foster balanced regional development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States as well as of Acceding Counties (Romania and Bulgaria). Since 1990 up to now in Romania the EIB has lent a total of EUR 4.25 billion.

Earlier this year, the EIB has provided a loan of EUR 300 million for repairs of the Romanian road infrastructure damaged by the catastrophic floods. This loan was complementary to the EIB loan of EUR 240 million, which was granted in 2000 for removing flood damages. Another loan of up to EUR 350 million for anti-flood prevention measures is scheduled for signature later this year.