>@EIB/Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri

The Memorandum of Understanding governing the financing of the MIUR Plan, forming part of the Government's overall school construction strategy which also concerns the Infrastructure Ministry and the Italian Prime Minister's school construction task force, was signed today in Palazzo Chigi by the Prime Minister's Office, the Education, Universities and Research Ministry (MIUR) and the European Investment Bank.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Under-secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Claudio De Vincenti, Education, Universities and Research Minister Stefania Giannini and EIB Vice-President with responsibility for operations in Italy, Malta and the Balkans, Dario Scannapieco.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding the Italian Government is committed to carrying out school construction operations using EIB funds and must perform regular project monitoring. The EIB thus confirms its willingness to finance projects under the Plan up to a maximum of EUR 940 million, of which operations totalling EUR 450 million have already been signed. The loan will cover restructuring operations, compliance with safety and seismic standards, energy efficiency and the construction of new school buildings.

The funds will be provided to municipalities, provinces and metropolitan cities on the basis of priority rank by the Regions. Depreciation costs will be borne by the State and, thanks to new disbursement arrangements, the beneficiaries will be able to use the funds without impacting their internal stability pact.

"The Government's strategy in this area", remarked Under-secretary Claudio De Vincenti, "is designed to raise the quality of buildings used by young people during their education. This type of operation comes under the reform of teaching organisation contained in the "Good Schools" programme to create the optimal conditions for teachers and students to work in education. The EIB's involvement will make a vital contribution to achieving this goal."

“The Memorandum of Understanding signed today", pointed out Minister Stefania Giannini, "provides further evidence of the Government's commitment to carrying out all its planned school construction operations. At the end of May Italy adopted, for the first time, a national programme for works to be carried out between 2015 and 2017. Thanks to our collaboration with the EIB we can already cover the first 1 300 operations, of which 75% will concern the upgrading of schools to comply with safety standards and 25% new constructions. We are currently in the process of signing decrees enabling us to launch the projects and over the next few days we will publish the complete list of operations for 2015. We have investments and a new form of governance that will speed up the allocation of funds and a solid programme to ensure safer schools for our students.”

“It is a source of pride", stated Dario Scannapieco, "to be able to support the Italian Government in its current drive to modernise the schools sector, as illustrated by today's signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and the launch of EIB financing operations for construction totalling almost EUR 1 billion. This shows the EU's commitment to supporting the Member States' citizens in the key sector of education.”

Lastly Laura Galimberti, coordinator of the Italian Prime Minister's school construction task force, remarked: "Today we are signing an agreement that is the result of a long process started some months ago committing the Prime Minister's school construction task force and MIUR to an issue that has always been at the forefront of the Government's agenda”.