The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a loan contract to provide in total EUR 300 million to finance priority projects under the Romanian Rural Development Programme for 2007-2013, particularly afforestation, improvement of forest management and protection and small-scale rural and agricultural infrastructure investments.

Mr Mihai Tanasescu, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending operations in Romania, commented: “The EIB loan will finance the upgrading of the environmental performance of more than 44,000 farms and improvement of the management of some 2,400 forestry holdings. It will also support erosion mitigation works on 60,000 ha as well as anti-flood measures in more than 1,000 communities, thereby reducing the risk of disasters such as the recent flooding in Southern Romania. Finally, it will also help to increase the absorption of EU funds in Romania as the EIB loan is backing the Romanian contribution to EU grant support”.

The project will generate employment in Romania’s rural areas, increase the use of renewable energy resources such as biogas and biomass and reduce surface and groundwater pollution from animal husbandry. It will also support the upgrading of the forest road access network needed for the implementation of sustainable forest management plans, particularly fire-fighting, and contribute to the sustainable and long-term use and protection of forest resources.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Romania is the promoter of this project while public and private entities receiving support from the Romanian Rural Development Programme, including SMEs, will be the final beneficiaries of the EIB loan.