>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

EUR 70m for the construction, refurbishment and upgrading of collèges

On 10 February 2017, the Gironde Departmental Council and the European Investment Bank (EIB) – the EU bank – signed a EUR 70m financing agreement for the refurbishment and upgrading of collèges across the Department. The signing ceremony took place in Ambarès-et-Lagrave in one of the collèges (lower secondary schools) benefiting from this EU financing – Collège Claude Massé – and was attended by Gironde Departmental Council Chairman Jean-Luc Gleyze, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and a number of local politicians. Those present visited the collège to mark the signing ceremony.

This is the first time that the EIB has provided direct financing to the Gironde Department, granted on attractive financial terms thanks to the EIB's AAA rating. It will enable 14 investment operations for collèges in the Gironde Department to be supported and will also help the economy by increasing activity in the construction sector, creating jobs in the region. This financing of collège construction sites will concern five general restructuring operations (Ambarès, Bazas, Cenon Jaurès, Bordeaux Vaillant, Cadillac), three new buildings (Mios, Bordeaux, Mayaudon), extensions (Salles, Guitres, Vérac, Gradignan) and the creation of wood-fired heating units. The first projects are almost finished (e.g. the collège in Ambarès, which will be delivered in the spring) whilst others are at the design stage, but all will be completed in 2021.

The EU bank is delighted to sign this maiden loan with the Gironde Department”, said Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle at the signing ceremony. "Against a backdrop of continuing high unemployment among young people, education and the development of skills are essential to ensure the professional success of future generations. This is why educating young people is one of our priorities in France. Optimising the energy efficiency of buildings is also a priority for this loan in order to create optimal conditions for education and collège life. We have therefore taken care to ensure that the energy efficiency of the school buildings being built or refurbished is a key component of this project.”

Gironde Department Chairman Jean-Luc Gleyze explained: “Our commitment in the Gironde Department at all times is to anticipate future needs whilst providing a high-quality public service each day. The agreement that we have signed with the EIB fulfils this objective and enables us to modernise Gironde’s collèges. Our Department and the EU are making a commitment to youth education for the future benefit of the Gironde."

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, particular emphasis is placed on optimising the energy efficiency of the infrastructure built or refurbished with a view to cutting its operating costs and carbon emissions: 27% of the project's investment cost is therefore dedicated to the energy efficiency of the buildings in keeping with new national and EU energy performance standards.

The project will also have a considerable impact on social cohesion in the region given that it has been decided to finance collèges located in less developed rural areas.

This financing falls under the EU bank's priority action to promote the education of young people and climate action. 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. As for climate action, in 2016 it accounted for 35% of the Bank's activity, so exceeding the EU's 2020 target of 25% to which the EIB has committed under the Paris Agreement.