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The financing agreement signed by Jean-Paul Bachy, President of the Champagne-Ardenne Regional Council, and Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), is designed to support the Champagne-Ardenne Region in its priority sectors of training and employment of young people. The signing ceremony took place in the Lycée Jean Moulin in Revin and this was followed by a visit to the site where restructuring works are in progress.

This €50m loan will help to finance the Champagne-Ardenne Region's investment projects in the fields of education and training, i.e. the construction, refurbishment and extension of six state lycées (upper secondary schools) and one apprenticeship training centre:

  • reconstruction of Lycée Jean Moulin in Revin (total cost of work: €43.5m);
  • reconstruction of workshops and the science department of Lycée Armand Malaise in Charleville-Mézières (total cost of work: €20.5m);
  • reconstruction of workshops and the science department of Lycée Arago in Reims (total cost of work: €19m);
  • extension and restructuring of Lycée Jean Jaurès in Reims (phase 1) (total cost of work: €32m);
  • extension and restructuring of Lycée Eugène Decomble in Chaumont (total cost of work: €49m);
  • reconstruction of Lycée Bouchardon in Chaumont (total cost of work: €51m);
  • reconstruction of the apprenticeship training centre for the building industry in Chaumont (total cost of work: €3m).

This loan will help the Region to achieve its strategic objectives, i.e. maintain school facilities in less densely populated areas whilst meeting rising demand for schools in urban areas; improve the training and employability of lycée graduates whilst at the same time making substantial energy efficiency gains and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Thanks to the EIB, the Region will receive long-term funding on attractive terms, which will help to optimise the overall financing plan of the Region's investment programme.

Lycée Jean Moulin in Revin: a project of environmental excellence

Overlooking the Meuse valley and the town of Revin, the 17 000 m2 Lycée Jean Moulin is currently being completely restructured. The project, entrusted to the architects Duncan Lewis and Jean De Giacinto, is fully representative of the Region's environmental priorities: the new buildings blend harmoniously into the landscape and meet High Environmental Quality and Low Consumption Building certification requirements. They are also tailored to current educational needs designed to offer young people a setting geared towards high-quality training. The gymnasium and boarding facilities, which can accommodate up to 70 pupils, have already been completed. The main day school building is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. Some 7% of the hours worked on the construction site are set aside to help integrate people excluded from the jobs market.

According to Jean-Paul Bachy, President of the Regional Council: "In an employment area severely hit by unemployment, the Region's sizeable investment in Lycée de Revin is a major regional development choice. The young people of the Meuse valley living in Revin and Givet have the same right to succeed as others, in schools that symbolise modernity and broaden their horizons."

At the signing ceremony EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle declared: "Against a backdrop of economic crisis and high unemployment among young people, the bank of the European Union is stepping up its activities to promote training and employment alongside the Regions. This project will help to provide the youth of Champagne-Ardenne with appropriate, high-quality training designed to give them the best possible chance of having a successful career. Our support is all about helping young people succeed and promoting growth and competitiveness in France and Europe."

The signature of this contract comes a year after the first direct loan with the Region was signed to finance the A304/E420 motorway (Brussels–Reims corridor), which is the final component of the "Y ardennais". This "Y" project, which will help to open up the French Ardennes region, has three components (150km in total): the section between Reims and Charleville-Mézières, the section between Charleville-Mézières/Sedan and the Belgium border going towards Liège and Luxembourg, and the section between Charleville-Mézières, Rocroi and the Belgium border going towards Charleroi and Brussels.

Furthermore, this loan is in line with the EIB's activity in support of projects promoting growth and employment, for which the Bank earmarked nearly €8.5bn in new finance in 2014. This mobilisation of resources is continuing in 2015, notably as part of the Investment Plan for Europe to stimulate growth, boost employment and restore confidence in Europe's economy.