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The Auvergne Region has chosen the European Investment Bank (EIB) to assist it with its project to construct and renovate lycées (upper secondary schools) and vocational training facilities, with a view to modernising and improving the energy efficiency of the buildings. The EUR 100m finance contract was signed on Monday 9 November 2015 at Lycée Ambroise Brugière by President of the Auvergne Region René SOUCHON and EIB Vice-President Ambroise FAYOLLE.

Fully in line with the objectives of the European Union, this financing operation will help to support the Region's priorities of training for young people and environmental excellence, the key aspect being the renovation and upgrading of the region's lycées. 24 of the region's lycées and two vocational training centres have already been targeted by the project, which concerns the Auvergne Region's investment programme for the next five years. Particular attention has been paid to improving the energy efficiency of existing facilities.

This is the EIB's first direct loan to the Auvergne Region. The principal advantage of this operation is that it enables the Auvergne Region to obtain a long-term loan (25 years) on favourable financing terms thanks to the EIB's AAA rating. Directly benefiting lycée pupils, this loan illustrates the level of Europe’s mobilisation and support for national and regional projects aimed at overcoming the challenge of youth employment in Europe.

"This is an important financing operation for Auvergne," stated EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle when signing the agreement, "which backs the Region's pro-active policy on the training and employment of young people and the renovation and energy efficiency of buildings. It is our responsibility to create the optimum conditions for financing such projects. In addition, I have taken the opportunity of this visit to meet businesses and listen to their needs. Assisting and supporting them with their development projects is a priority of the bank of the European Union and the Investment Plan for Europe."

René Souchon added, "In order to help the Auvergne Regional Council with its future investments aimed at improving the energy performances of lycées, Europe and the European Investment Bank are offering exceptional financing conditions to our local authority. The planned renovation and upgrading work is taking place in lycées throughout the four departments of Auvergne. By allocating almost EUR 97m to education and lycées in 2015, the Auvergne Region is maintaining its investment in the initial training of young people, which involves renovation and modernisation measures, efforts to achieve energy savings and investments to equip facilities with digital technology."

This loan forms part of a multi-regional lycées programme totalling almost EUR 700m which the EIB introduced to help finance projects in seven French regions that had previously received little or no funding from the Bank.