• EIB signs EUR 150 million loan agreement with Flemish government.
  • First tranche of EUR 1 billion facility available for Antwerp ring road completion.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Flemish Government in Belgium have signed the first tranche of a lending facility in support of the “Oosterweel” project, the missing link in the ring road around the city of Antwerp. The parties added their signatures to the document, covering a first EUR 150 million tranche of the EIB facility, in Brussels today.

One year after works started on the left bank of the river Scheldt, Flemish Ministers of Finance and Mobility Lydia Peeters and Ben Weyts have concluded a financing agreement with the financial arm of the European Union, the EIB. This major mobility project, which is expected to significantly improve accessibility and quality of life in the region around Antwerp, has a total price tag of EUR 3.5 billion. In March 2018, the EIB’s Board of Directors approved a EUR 1 billion lending facility in support of the project, of which the first tranche has now been signed. The first EUR 150 million tranche of financing has an EIB-margin on the interest rate of four basis points (0.04%) and a tenor of 40 years.

Upon signing the agreement, Minister Weyts commented: “The European Investment Bank puts faith in the Oosterweel project: one of the biggest mobility and quality-of-life-projects to be carried out in Europe in this century. Only a few years ago, hardly anyone still believed in this project, but step by step we removed all the barriers for the project, which now enjoys great support on both river banks.”

Minister Lydia Peeters adds: “The advantageous conditions offered by the EIB will convince other investors to put their weight behind the project. In the end, this means that we will spend less on interest payments, which benefits the Flemish budget as well as the citizens, and in particular the future users of the Oosterweel-connnection.”

EIB Director-General Luca Lazzaroli added: “The EIB is not just a bank, but also a European institution with a very clear mission: to improve people’s lives through our investments. The EIB has reiterated its support for this project from the start, and we are happy to see it take off. We expect that this project will significantly improve the lives of people living in and around Antwerp, as well as conditions for those transiting through the area, and are very glad to support this.”

Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois concluded: “The file on the Oosterweel project was all but dead. Together will all the partners and stakeholders, the current government has managed to make this historic breakthrough. Major infrastructure projects like this one are very much needed and will significantly improve mobility in Flanders.”