The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending CZK 14 billion (approx. EUR 530 million) to finance priority transport projects covered by the Operational Programme for Transport of the Czech National Strategic Reference Framework for the period 2007-2013.
Mrs Marta Gajęcka, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending operations in the Czech Republic, commented: “Today is a double first for cooperation between the Czech Republic and the EIB. The loan forms part of the largest transport operation of CZK 34 billion (approx. EUR 1.3 billion) ever approved by the EIB in a Member State which joined the Union after 2004. At the same time, with this operation the Bank is providing co-financing with the Structural and Cohesion Funds and the Czech Government, containing specific features that set new standards for cooperation between an EU Member State, the Commission and the Bank. In addition, EIB funds will facilitate the preparation and launch of new projects prior to the availability of EU fund grants.”
Some of the projects funded will benefit from technical assistance from Jaspers, in particular in the railway sector.
The projects supported will meet the highest transport priorities of the Czech Government as endorsed by the EU Commission in the recently approved Operational Programme for Transport.
The majority of the rail and road projects to be financed are located on the European priority transport axes (TEN-T network), being of key importance for the development of transport infrastructure in the Czech Republic and improvement of the interconnection with neighbouring EU Member States.
Some 45% of the Operational Programme for Transport will target railways, including substantial modernisation and upgrading of the network, as well as the rehabilitation of certain sections. Railway projects on Czech corridors III and IV radiating from Prague in the direction of Linz and Nuremberg are expected to be supported from the Bank’s loan. They essentially constitute a continuation of similar line upgrading and modernisation started with the Bank’s co-financing on Czech corridors I and II, Berlin-Prague-Brno-Vienna and Warsaw-Katowice-Ostrava-Vienna.
In the road sector the main new constructions on the motorway and expressway networks include certain sections of the R1 (Prague Ring Road), the R6 and R7 expressways, as well as the D1, D5, D11 and other motorways. Some sections of these highways have already been financed by the Bank. The upgrading of several sections of Class I roads throughout the country is also expected to be undertaken.
The upgraded transport infrastructure will help the Czech Republic to cope with the increasing traffic levels since EU accession and deepen integration with the EU single market.
The EIB, the European Union’s long-term financing institution, finances economically viable investment projects that contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. Since 1990, EIB loans signed for the Czech Republic have amounted to some EUR 9.3 billion. The biggest share of EIB lending (approx. 40%) has been used in support of transport projects.
Major transport projects co-financed by the Bank in the Czech Republic are: the motorway between Plzeň and the Czech-German border, the Plzeň motorway bypass, sections of the Prague-Dresden motorway, the Prague Ring Road expressway, upgrading of the Czech sections of the rail corridors Berlin-Prague-Vienna and Warsaw-Ostrava-Vienna, and the connecting link Česká-Třebová-Přerov.