Poland’s Katowice hosts “Upgrade your City” conference on how to create modern and inclusive urban environments
With EUR 205 million direct loans over 20 years, the EIB has sustained the city’s transition to a low-carbon economy
In Poland, the EIB has invested EUR 2.7 billion in urban projects over the past four years, benefiting 28 cities and 9.3m people, and new projects are expected to target environment, mobility, housing, health, education and energy efficiency
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is back in Katowice today with a high-level conference on smart urban investments organised jointly with the municipality. This Polish city of approximately 300 000 people, the capital of Upper Silesia, was the first Polish municipality to sign a loan with the EIB 20 years ago, spearheading a successful transition from a troubled coal-mining town to a vibrant place offering new business opportunities and a healthier environment for its citizens.
“Katowice is a role model for Poland and for the European Investment Bank”, said Vazil Hudak, Vice-President of the EIB who supervises operations in this country. “The city is a demonstration of a successful, ongoing transition to a low-carbon economy. The EIB is proud to have contributed to the city’s regeneration and the restoration of its cultural heritage, and we are now ready to support further innovative urban projects, in Katowice and elsewhere in Poland”.
New urban projects under consideration by the EIB are expected to target the environment, mobility, affordable housing, health, education and culture and energy efficiency. Planning-led and innovative technology solutions that can make cities smarter and more inclusive are also welcome.
Marcin Krupa, President of Katowice, said: “Our excellent cooperation with the European Investment Bank has allowed us to boost and accelerate the multifaceted transformation from a purely industrial city to a fast developing capital of a metropolitan area home to over two-million people. The initial loans helped us to modernise roads and sewage. The subsequent funds allowed us to build the magnificent headquarters for the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and regenerate the neighbouring area. The latest agreement with the EIB allows us to improve public transport by building four transfer hubs. Our city’s transformation has been noticed worldwide. Today, we are the UNESCO Creative City of Music and this year in December we will host the COP 24 Climate Summit, with the EIB being part of this success.”
The Minister of Investment and Economic Development, Jerzy Kwieciński, said: “The Government’s Strategy for Responsible Sustainable Development not only focuses on support and promotion of the smart city concept, but also emphasises that being smart is more than just implementing the latest technologies. It is also about caring for the environment and the urban space, allowing residents to co-decide and benefiting from the experience of others. The Ministry of Investment and Economic Development runs two projects on urban development: the Cities Partnership Initiative and Human Smart Cities”. Minister Kwieciński stressed the very good cooperation with the European Investment Bank: ‘In the last 4 years, the EIB supported 28 Polish cities with 49 loans. That brings obvious benefits for residents and teaches us one important thing: by using EIB funds, we all learn to use financial instruments such as loans, whose significance will grow in the coming years”, he added
Today’s conference – “Upgrade your city: Investing in smart and sustainable municipal infrastructure” – focuses on bridging financing gaps in urban development and planning the city of the 21st century.
The EIB has signed a €65 million loan agreement with Lithuanian gas transmission system operator AB Amber Grid to finance the construction of the Lithuanian section of the planned gas interconnection between Poland and Lithuania. The interconnector will be the first high-pressure gas pipeline between Poland and Lithuania, integrating the Baltic States and Finland into the wider EU gas market and diversifying gas supply sources. The project will also increase security and reliability of gas supplies for the local and regional market.
The EIB has signed a €125 million loan with Umicore, the Belgian-based global materials technology and recycling group, to finance part of the greenfield production facility for cathode materials in Poland. The cathode materials will be supplied to battery manufacturers of high-tech lithium-ion batteries that are primarily used in electric vehicles.