>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB
©Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

EUR 30m for the refurbishment and upgrading of collèges

On 3 February 2017, the Vendée Departmental Council and the European Investment Bank (EIB) – the EU bank – signed a EUR 30m financing agreement. The signing ceremony took place in Saint Hilaire des Loges in one of the collèges (lower secondary schools) benefiting from this EU financing – Collège Joliot Curie – and was attended by Vendée Departmental Council Chairman Yves Auvinet, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and several local politicians. Those present visited the building site after the signing ceremony.

Granted on attractive financial terms thanks to the EU bank's AAA rating, this EU financing directly enables around ten collèges in the area to be refurbished and modernised, and also helps the economy by increasing activity in the construction sector, creating jobs in the region.

“The Vendée Departmental Council is delighted with this EIB financing. As collèges are at the very heart of the Department's priorities, it will be allocating almost EUR 160m for investment in collèges in Vendée (creation, extension, modernisation, etc.) between 2011 and 2018. The EIB's support will help to provide pupils and teachers with an ideal working environment,” said Yves Auvinet, Vendée Departmental Council Chairman.  

This is the first time that the EIB has provided direct financing to the Vendée Department, as highlighted by the EIB Vice-President: “The EU bank is delighted to sign this maiden loan with the Vendée Department. Educating young people is an EU priority, as is combating climate change. The project signed today addresses these priorities by improving the energy efficiency of school buildings and by creating optimal conditions for education and collège life. That is the very purpose of the commitment we are making today alongside the Department.”

This financing is part of Vendée's economic and social development process. Firstly, it supports the Vendée Departmental Council's investment in collèges, which has two objectives: assisting with the education of younger generations and with the performance of young people from Vendée in the Diplôme National du Brevet exams (the pass rate in Vendée is 89.8%, compared with 87.3% across France and 88.8% in Vendée's academic region), and addressing the demographic drawing power of the Department (public collèges in Vendée offer 17 688 places compared with 16 388 two years ago). It also improves the quality of life of collège pupils by providing modern infrastructure in line with the schools' educational objectives, particularly for rural collèges, while simultaneously offering a long-lasting and sustainable answer to increasing secondary school pupil numbers.

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, particular emphasis is placed on optimising the infrastructure built or refurbished with a view to cutting its operating costs and carbon emissions. 33% of the project's investment cost is therefore dedicated to the energy efficiency of the infrastructure via insulation and other measures in keeping with new national and EU energy performance standards.

This financing falls under the EU bank's priority action to promote the education of young people. In 2016, EUR 705m was dedicated to refurbishing and modernising collèges, lycées (upper secondary schools) and universities in France. These investments aim to give young people more opportunities to succeed while creating a long-lasting economic and social dynamic at the heart of cities and regions.