The European Investment Bank (EIB) is taking forward its partnership with Société Wallonne du Logement (SWL).

André Antoine, Wallonia’s Housing Minister, Alain Rosenoer, CEO of SWL, and Philippe Maystadt, President of the EIB, have signed a finance contract for the second EUR 100 million tranche (a first tranche of EUR 150 million was granted in June 2004) of an EIB loan for upgrading Wallonia’s public sector housing stock to the latest standards of safety, comfort and equipment.

This loan will make a direct contribution to the implementation of the Walloon Government’s EUR 1.152 billion “Exceptional Investment Programme”.

This five-year plan (2004-2008) involves the refurbishment of more than 36 000 rented social housing units in Wallonia, especially in the areas of Liège, Wavre, Charleroi and Tournai.

Since 2004, two thirds of the 36 000 units targeted by the five-year plan have been, or are in the process of being, refurbished or rebuilt.

At the contract signing ceremony, Philippe Maystadt welcomed the effective cooperation between the EIB, SWL and the Walloon Government. He highlighted the EIB’s role in this area, saying: “financing the expansion of social housing in the face of growing demand and improving the living conditions of its occupants are priorities of the EIB in its support for sustainable urban development”.

Over the past five years, the EIB has financed to the tune of nearly EUR 28 billion projects that have a direct impact in terms of improving the environment and enhancing the quality of life of urban-dwelling European citizens (EUR 13 billion for urban renewal and EUR 15 billion for urban public transport).

In Belgium, over the same period (2003-2007), the EIB has provided EUR 525.5 million for urban renewal projects and EUR 325 million for urban transport networks (see attached table).