>@EIB/To be defined

The European Investment Bank is providing a EUR 100 million loan in support of school facilities throughout Greece.  This is the first part of a facility totalling EUR 200 million.

EIB Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris signed the agreement today in Athens with Mr Herakles Droulias, CEO of the School Buildings Organisation S.A (SBO).

During the signature ceremony, Mr. Sakellaris commented:  “This loan provides support to the knowledge economy in Greece.  The purpose of the project is to construct, renovate, modernize and better equip schools across the country. It will help enhance the educational aspirations and the learning outcomes of students and improve the working environment for teachers and boost community morale. Such investments enable the creation of new jobs and contribute to the country’s economic recovery.”

The loan is aimed at eliminating double-shift schooling through the construction of new and the upgrading of existing educational facilities throughout Greece over the next three years. It concerns the construction and renovation of 84 schools and 31 multi-purpose school halls and sports facilities, as well as equipment for some 14 000 public schools, based on an environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient building approach and taking seismic hazards into account. Increasing physical capacity and improving the quality of the school estate are key aims of Greek education policy.

This loan is a follow-up to previous EIB support for upgrading educational facilities in Greece.  An initial loan of EUR 400 million was signed with the SBO in 2001 for investment schemes located mainly in Attica and aimed at phasing out double-shift schooling.  A second operation for EUR 200 million was signed in 2006 for investment throughout the country.

The SBO, which will implement the project, has been largely responsible for the development of school facilities in Greece since 1962.  It is experienced and well regarded, having attracted favourable publicity in the Journal of the OECD Programme on Educational Buildings for its ability to contribute to the protection of Greece’s cultural heritage through its design and construction of new school buildings.

Note to editors:

About the EIB

The European Investment Bank was created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 as the long-term lending bank of the European Union.  The Bank’s remit is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States.  The EIB raises substantial volumes of funds on the capital markets which it lends on favourable terms to projects furthering EU policy objectives.  It continuously adapts its activity to developments in EU policies.

About EIB activity in Greece

In 2009 the EIB provided a total of EUR 1.6 billion, up 33% compared to EUR 1.2 billion in 2008. Of this amount, more than EUR 1 billion was to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small and medium-scale infrastructure investment to be carried out by private or public bodies, including local authorities, as well as beneficiaries of any size. Financing was for investment in the fields of industry, tourism, services, the knowledge economy, energy and environmental protection in Greece.  Further lending went to industry, urban development, transport and energy.   With a EUR 10 million loan for the Hellenic Fire Services the EIB launched a new phase for Public-Private Partnerships in sectors other than transport in Greece, while significant progress was made on the implementation of the JEREMIE and JESSICA initiatives.