This morning in Paris, Brice Hortefeux, Minister for Employment, Social Relations, the Family, Solidarity and Cities, Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President, and Gérard Hamel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Urban Regeneration Agency, signed a memorandum of understanding on the financing of urban regeneration.

The EIB will provide EUR 600m in financing to local authorities sponsoring urban regeneration projects via three banking partners, Dexia Crédit Local, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne and Crédit Agricole.

This financing has three objectives:

1.    To participate in the sustainable regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods in France under the National Urban Regeneration Programme (PNRU).

The EIB has supported this ANRU-managed programme since its launch in 2003, in particular via two framework loans of EUR 500m each.

The aim of urban regeneration is to “change the face” of working-class neighbourhoods via the rehabilitation of housing, by transforming public areas, modernising the management of urban living in conjunction with the population (waste, energy, etc.), revitalising local shops and access to transport and, at the same time, launching initiatives promoting education.

2.    To support local authorities that have adopted environmental policies contributing to the goals of reducing CO² emissions. In this way, municipalities or inter-municipal associations that have an agreement with ANRU and have already adopted environmental policies are eligible to benefit from this loan. The three recognised environmental measures are as follows:

  • Signature of “Agenda 21”: Chapter 28 of the Rio Declaration (1992) encourages local authorities to draw up “local Agenda 21s” involving their inhabitants, all local players and enterprises. This approach, based on a concerted diagnosis, makes it possible to devise a strategic project, resulting in an action plan that is periodically evaluated before being strengthened and approved.
  • Adoption of a Climate Plan. In 2004, the Ministry with responsibility for the environment launched “The Climate Plan”, a Government action plan to tackle the challenge of climate change in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Signing up to the ''Covenant of Mayors'', launched on 29 January 2009 by the European Commission to involve the population in the fight against global warming. Nearly 100 cities throughout Europe, including 15 capital cities, have already shown their support for this covenant. The EIB supports this European commitment.

3.    To participate in the economic recovery plan. The amount of this new loan has been increased by 20% from EUR 500m to 600m and its launch has been brought forward by a year.

The memorandum of understanding was signed in the presence of representatives of the three partner banks, Pierre Mariani (Dexia), Alain Lemaire (Caisses d’Epargne) and Franck Claeys (Crédit Agricole). Pierre Mariani, the CEO of Dexia Crédit Local, immediately signed the first contract under the agreement for EUR 300m. The other two finance contracts with Caisses d’Epargne and Crédit Agricole are expected to be signed over the coming weeks.