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

On Monday 13 March 2017, Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) – the EU bank – and Mathieu Klein, Meurthe-et-Moselle Departmental Council Chairman, signed a EUR 70m finance contract to help the Department implement its New-Generation Collèges (lower secondary schools) Plan. The signing ceremony took place at Collège Jean-Lamour in Nancy, which will be the Department’s first passive energy collège. It is set to open in 2017 and will serve as an anchorage point for an ambitious social diversity project in the north of the city of Nancy and its suburbs.

This is the first time that the EIB has provided direct financing to the Meurthe-et-Moselle Department, granted on attractive financial terms thanks to the EIB's “AAA” rating. It will enable 27 investment operations for passive and positive energy buildings to be supported and will also help the economy by increasing activity in the construction sector, creating jobs in the region.

“This is the EIB’s first financing operation with the Meurthe-et-Moselle Department concerning a crucial education project for the future of local young people”, stated Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle during the signing ceremony. "Against a backdrop of continuing high unemployment among young people, the acquisition of skills is essential to ensure the professional success of future generations. For this reason, the EU bank has made the education and training of young people a priority area of activity. Fully in line with our commitment to climate action, environmental excellence is also a focal point of this loan for passive and positive energy collèges to create optimal conditions for learning and school life."

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, particular emphasis is placed on optimising the energy efficiency of the infrastructure built or refurbished with the dual objective of cutting the operating costs and the carbon emissions of these establishments. 52% 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.

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, thus exceeding the EU's 2020 target of 25% to which the EIB has committed under the Paris Agreement.