The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a EUR 125m loan to the Barcelona Municipal Housing Board (a public entity under the responsibility of the City Government), with the aim of building 2 198 homes for public rental to low-income households. The agreement is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe (the so-called Juncker Plan), and was signed today in Barcelona by EIB Operations Director for Spain and Portugal Birthe Bruhn-Léon and Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau.
The EIB loan will finance up to 50% of the total cost of the project to build 23 new housing developments in the following eight Barcelona districts: Eixample, Nous Barris, Sant Andreu, Sants-Montjuïc, Sant Martí, Gracia, Sarrià-Sant Gervais and Horta-Guinardó. All the buildings will be used to cover demand for rented social housing from middle or low-income applicants, while 585 of the new homes will be reserved for people over the age of 65 with limited means. These apartments for older people and their access routes will be equipped for people with limited mobility.
Some of the buildings will be constructed according to new energy efficiency standards, facilitating cuts to energy use and emissions. This project will make it possible to create 2 000 jobs during its implementation phase until 2022.
Promoting low-price rented social housing in European cities is one of the EU bank's objectives, and it has already provided financing for similar social housing programmes in urban areas in Navarra and Andalusia. The EIB has also recently supported projects to expand or improve rented social housing in other cities such as Amsterdam, Dublin and Lisbon.
The Investment Plan for Europe's support for the agreement was crucial for passing on the EIB's favourable financing conditions – both in terms of maturities and interest rates – to the final beneficiaries, who will have access to a new home while paying rent at below the market rate.
At the signing ceremony, EIB Operations Director for Iberia Birthe Bruhn-Léon highlighted the fact that this agreement will “facilitate access to social housing in Barcelona and promote development and urban regeneration – both of which are EIB priorities. The project signed today also shows the Juncker Plan's large-scale implementation in Spain. So far this has made it possible to approve 53 operations that are expected to mobilise more than EUR 28.5bn in investment.”
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "This agreement is a clear signal that the Investment Plan is not only providing an important boost to jobs and growth across Europe, but can also help deliver projects which reap high social benefits. I am delighted that the Investment Plan is facilitating access to high-quality, affordable homes for thousands of families in Barcelona. This shows how the EU can have a real, positive impact on the daily lives of European citizens."
The EIB is providing the Institut Catalá de Finances (ICF) with a loan of up to EUR 250 million to support SMEs, the companies most vulnerable to the COVID-19 shock. The two institutions have signed the first EUR 150 million instalment of this financing agreement under an accelerated approval procedure put in place by the EIB in this emergency to ensure that the funds reach Spanish firms as quickly as possible. This is one of the first operations mounted under the EIB’s EUR 5 billion programme to safeguard European businesses in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
The EIB and Unión de Créditos Inmobiliarios (UCI) are set to finance green investments in Iberia ranging from the refurbishment of existing buildings to the construction of Nearly Zero-Energy properties. These investments will be possible thanks to the provision of energy efficiency mortgages and consumer loans to the market by UCI.
The Spanish multinational Gestamp, which specialises in the development and manufacture of metal components for the automotive industry, is receiving a EUR 200 million loan from the EIB to develop new research lines enabling the production of safer, lighter and therefore more environmentally friendly cars.