The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted the Galicia Region a EUR 150 million loan for investment in wastewater treatment facilities. EIB Vice-President Carlos da Silva Costa and the Region’s Finance Minister Marta Fernández Currás signed the finance contract this morning.

At the signing ceremony the EIB Vice-President welcomed the Region’s new Finance Minister in her first dealings with the Bank, saying that the EIB would “offer its full cooperation on the Galicia Region’s projects, as it has been doing since 1989, the year in which it began its excellent close relations with the Region”. The Vice-President stressed that “the loan that we are signing today will bring clear environmental benefits by improving the quality of Galicia’s coastal and estuary waters, which will in turn impact positively on people’s quality of life and the economy, especially tourism and fisheries”. The Vice-President also spoke of “the investment’s contribution to job creation in these difficult times”. 

The investment programme financed comprises the rehabilitation, extension and construction of wastewater treatment plants, interceptors and collectors throughout Galicia: 6 major wastewater management schemes in Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Ferrol, Lugo, Ourense and Vigo; 29 medium-sized treatment plants and collectors (for towns with between 2 000 and 70 000 inhabitants); and 8 smaller treatment plants and collectors (for towns with fewer than 2 000 inhabitants). The programme will be rolled out over the period 2009 – 2012.

This loan will enable the Region to adapt Galicia’s wastewater facilities to meet the requirements of the EU urban wastewater directive as regards the quality of effluent discharged into receiving water bodies.

The EIB is the EU’s long-term financing institution promoting European objectives. Founded in 1957, it operates in the 27 EU Member States and over 130 other countries worldwide.

EIB financing operations are mounted in the framework of well-defined EU policies. An important area for the EIB is the water sector, where the Bank has financed projects spanning the whole water cycle, from reforestation and forest protection and the construction and upgrading of wastewater treatment plants to drinking water distribution. It also promotes improvement of the urban and natural environments by financing solid waste processing plants.