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The commitment of EUR 800m for education, sustainable development and renewable energy was announced by the Aquitaine Region and the European Investment Bank (EIB), following a signing ceremony held at the Aquitaine Regional Council presided over by Alain Rousset, President of the Aquitaine Regional Council, and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President. 

This is a sizable commitment – one of the EIB’s largest for a French region – targeting primarily lycées and training institutes, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises. Given the credit squeeze currently affecting the market, the major advantage of these financing operations is that they will enable the Aquitaine Region to be granted loans with a long maturity on favourable financial terms as a result of the EIB’s AAA credit rating. This partnership also confirms the confidence shown in the Region’s robust financial health, and in particular its ability to finance its investments in a balanced manner through a combination of savings and borrowing.

  • EUR 500m for lycées and training institutes

This EUR 500m financing operation will focus on expanding the region’s public and private educational establishments, upgrading them to meet the required standard and improving their energy efficiency, the key component being the construction of the next lycée to meet the BEPOS (“bâtiment à énergie positive” – positive energy building) standard, the future lycée des métiers (vocational college) in Bergerac (Dordogne). It will also help to significantly improve the energy performance of lycées via the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the schools, fully complying with the Europe 2020 targets. 

The first tranche – EUR 150m from the EUR 500m committed – was signed by Alain Rousset, President of the Aquitaine Regional Council, and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President. 

  • EUR 300m for businesses

The Aquitaine Region and the EIB, in partnership with Crédit Agricole and the BPCE (Banque Populaire et Caisse d’Epargne) Group, have undertaken to provide EUR 300m to support the generation of renewable energy and the energy-focused renovation of buildings while at the same time meeting the financing requirements of project promoters in the region. The operation is being financed jointly by the European Investment Bank via a EUR 150m credit line to be made available to two banking partners – Crédit Agricole and the BPCE (Banque Populaire et Caisse d’Epargne) Group – which will provide additional finance totalling €150m to co-finance this major regional project in support of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The local banking partners will make a total of EUR 300m in the form of loans on favourable terms available to project promoters throughout the region. The regional guarantee fund, in partnership with Oséo, will also be mobilised to support initiatives taken by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. This will help to improve – in a very concrete way – the financial terms offered to small businesses, including farms.

This commitment was demonstrated with the signing of a EUR 150m memorandum of understanding.

At the signing ceremony Mr de Fontaine Vive said: “I am very pleased about this first-class partnership with the Aquitaine Region on a project initiated, carried out and driven by a policy of environmental excellence. The modernisation of lycées and other educational establishments and the support for top-quality renewable energy projects in the private sector are key aspects of training and sustainable development. And it is our responsibility to create the optimum conditions for financing such projects, which will promote economic development, employment and social cohesion in the region.”

Alain Rousset commented: “In the face of the squeeze on bank lending to local authorities and with a view to diversifying its sources of finance, the Region is being supported by the European Investment Bank to fund its investment in the fields of education, training and sustainable development. The loans obtained from the EIB”, he added, “mark, in terms of the maturities and rates involved, a historic opportunity that will enable the Region to prepare the future of its inhabitants on the most favourable terms.”

This EIB financing operation in support of Aquitaine demonstrates Europe’s practical commitment in favour of climate action in this region, from which the inhabitants, in particular the young people attending lycées and training institutes, will be the first to benefit. It also reflects the EIB’s growing activities in support of regional authorities, which have invested nearly €7bn since January 2012 by leveraging funds provided by other financial partners.

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