>@Mercedes Landete/EIB
©Mercedes Landete/EIB

The EIB is co-financing with a EUR 300m loan the IFRRU (Instrumento Financeiro para a Reabilitação e Revitalização Urbana), a financial instrument aimed at fostering the social and economic regeneration of urban areas in Portugal, set up under the Portugal 2020 EU Partnership Agreement. The first tranche of this loan, in the amount of EUR 100m, has been signed today in Lisbon by EIB Vice-President Román Escolano and the Portuguese Minister of Finance, Mário Centeno. The project is also supported by additional EU funds, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund.

The EIB loan will benefit Portuguese municipalities with plans for urban regeneration. Priority will be given to zones facing degradation for the implementation of sustainable urban development programmes until 2023. This EIB loan will provide financial resources on advantageous terms regarding both interest rates and maturity. It is designed to contribute to improving the quality of life in Portugal by rehabilitating buildings for housing, public spaces and infrastructure located in residential areas and city centres, on waterfronts and in former industrial areas. The programme is also aimed at revitalizing urban brownfields situated in deprived and degraded neighbourhoods.

Additionally, the project encompasses relevant investments in energy efficiency measures, as part of the renovation of buildings, which will contribute to reducing pollutant emissions and mitigating climate change. Likewise, more sustainable facilities will help to increase the security of energy supply in Portugal by reducing dependence on imports.

Besides contributing to social cohesion, this EIB fund will help to boost both population and economic growth. The investments implemented under this financial instrument will increase the attractiveness of urban areas, including tourist destinations. It will also facilitate the emergence of new business locations, therefore generating local economic development and employment creation. The execution of the project will require around 14,000 people to be hired during the construction works.

At the signing ceremony, EIB Vice-President Román Escolano stated: “The agreement we are signing today in Lisbon perfectly illustrates the EIB’s strong commitment to supporting sustainable economic growth in Portugal. By helping to rehabilitate houses and to revitalize public spaces in cities all across the country, this loan will also facilitate the positive transformation of the country, fostering local economic development that will create new business opportunities and employment’’.

The Portuguese Minister of Finance, Mário Centeno, stated: “I welcome the increasingly developed partnership between Portugal and the European Investment Bank. As policy makers, we have to aim at seizing instruments that support and encourage quality public and private investment. By making the most of these instruments, we are helping to support the country's development in a responsible and sustainable way.”