The European Investment Bank (EIB), represented by Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, has granted a EUR 500 million loan to the French Republic, represented by Housing Minister Christine Boutin, through the intermediary of Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne et de Prévoyance (CNCEP), represented by CEO Charles Milhaud, and the Dexia Group, represented by CEO Gérard Bayol, on the occasion of the transfer of the Housing Ministry to Lyon between 17 and 27 September 2007.

France is faced with a major imbalance between supply and demand for social housing. The current housing crisis is particularly due to a decade of insufficient building. Part of the social housing stock of 4.5 million units is sometimes too concentrated in the most disadvantaged areas, which suffer from major problems of ghettoisation and social exclusion.

Christine Boutin is bringing together everybody involved in the housing sector – lenders, landlords, tenants, promoters, builders, professional and housing associations – to achieve the ambitious goals set by the French President and Prime Minister: enabling 70% of French people to become home owners and building 500 000 houses, including 120 000 social housing units, per year. “A major concern of the French people is for housing to become a genuine national cause, so that everyone in our country – man, woman and child – can have a roof over their heads”.

To support this objective, the EIB is for the first time contributing EUR 500 million to the “France Social Housing” programme, which aims to finance on highly favourable terms the investments of social landlords in the building and refurbishment of social housing under French initiatives (PCS and PNRU). This programme is being implemented with the active support of CNCEP and the Dexia Group.