The support provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to Italy's infrastructure network is growing. A EUR 140m finance contract was signed this morning in Milan with SEA, the management company for Lombardy's two airports, Linate and Malpensa. The EIB was represented by Vice-President Dario Scannapieco and SEA by its Chairman, Pietro Modiano.

The EIB loan will cover about 50% of a significant part of the finance requried under the 2014-2020 investment plan for the modernisation of Malpensa being implemented by SEA, which includes the construction, with Ferrovie Nord Milano, of the new rail link between the airport's two terminals (Malpensa 1 and 2). This is the first direct financing operation undertaken by the bank of the European Union with SEA.

Insofar as the EIB's financing policies are concerned, the operation comes under the construction and modernisation of trans-European transport networks (TEN-t).

"With the crisis there has been a decline in investment everywhere, both in Europe generally and even more so in our country. Also at the instigation of the Italian Presidency of the European Union, the Commission has placed boosting investment centre stage, an essential priority for reviving growth and ensuring Europe's long-term competitiveness. Today's project, that is modernising the existing facilities at Malpensa, including the extension of the rail link with Milan, is a step in the right direction, in line with the wishes of European institutions and Member States", commented Mr Scannapieco.

"This new financing operation builds on the 20 year-long relationship between SEA and the EIB, which has consistently supported the growth of Malpensa, one of the hubs of the TEN-t network", added SEA's Chairman Pietro Modiano. "This operation strengthens SEA's financial structure and strikes the right balance between medium/long-term and short-term finance".