The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 1 billion to co-finance Romania’s national contribution to the implementation of investment priorities and measures with EU funds over the period 2007-2013. In addition, the Bank will co-finance priority projects not benefiting from EU grant support. Today’s finance contract represents the biggest loan ever granted by the Bank in a Member State that joined the Union after 2004.
The loan will predominantly finance priority projects identified in the Romanian National Strategic Reference Framework that will be supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund, particularly in the sectors of transport infrastructure, the environment – including protection of nature conservation areas, energy and water and waste water management – and in certain cases, where justified, other important investments in these areas covered by Romania’s National Development Plan.
The projects to be financed have been selected and prepared by Romanian state and local authorities and are focused on strengthening the competitiveness of Romania’s regions and providing support for sustainable economic development and maintaining the dynamism of economic growth in the country. The EIB may also provide technical assistance for managing and implementing the individual projects, thereby complementing any upstream project preparation activities carried out by JASPERS with the aim of further enhancing implementation of these key investment priorities. Another major feature of the operation is the possibility of a EUR 250 million upfront disbursement to accelerate the implementation of EU grant-aided sub-projects eligible under the loan. Investments supported under the facility would extend across the whole country, which, as a European convergence region, is a priority area in terms of the EU’s regional policies.
Mr Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, EIB Vice-President with responsibility for the Bank’s lending in Romania, commented: “The loan signed today marks a new phase in the cooperation between Romania and the EU institutions. It provides long-term financing for priority projects focused on strengthening the competitiveness of Romania’s economy, increasing the quality of life of its citizens and enhancing the effective utilisation of EU grant aid allocated to Romania. The EIB and the Romanian Government plan a rapid start of this facility with a first disbursement in 2008 with a focus on competitiveness and environment".
The task of the EIB, the European Union’s financing institution, is to contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States by financing sound investment. Since 1990 the EIB’s lending in Romania has amounted to some EUR 5.1 billion, for financing investment projects associated with Romania’s integration into the EU. In addition to providing finely priced long-term funding, the EIB manages JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions), whose role is to support the preparation of projects proposed for financing with EU funds and help the Member States, including Romania, to use the grant funding provided by the Union more rapidly and more effectively. JASPERS is implemented jointly by the EIB, the European Commission, the EBRD and KfW.