• A €150 million, 25-year EIB loan will go towards investments to improve the school environment of a quarter of pupils in the department’s lower secondary schools.
  • The project also covers work to refurbish the departmental archives building focusing mainly on energy efficiency.
  • This is the second time the EIB has granted a loan to the department for educational infrastructure.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French department of Seine-Maritime have signed a 25-year, €150 million finance contract aiming to modernise the working and learning environments of 13 000 pupils across the region — 25% of the total registered in the department’s public lower secondary schools (collèges) — together with their teachers and other staff.

The project falls under the department’s Plan Ambition Collèges 2024-2031 programme focusing on the need to renovate and rebuild outdated and obsolete buildings that do not meet modern standards. It covers extension, rebuilding and refurbishment work (particularly to improve energy efficiency) on many lower secondary school buildings and the construction of two new schools.

The estimated €384 million project also includes investment in IT and digital equipment. Lastly, it will enable the mainly energy efficiency-related renovation of the departmental archives facility in Rouen’s Tour des Archives. Around 660 000 m2 of teaching spaces will be built, expanded or refurbished as part of this project.

The financing also opens up the possibility of the Seine-Maritime department benefiting from an additional grant from the European Commission under the public sector loan facility programme. The EU support mechanism targets projects in just transition areas like the various departments in Normandy.

Bertrand Bellanger, president of the Seine-Maritime department, said: “In a high interest rate environment, this new finance contract with the EIB will enable us to make major budgetary savings on financing costs and secure a portion of our borrowing. Signed in 2019, our last, €80 million multi-annual contract with the EIB was a success. Together with the Plan Ambition Collèges, it delivered several projects benefiting young people, teachers, management and employees in our lower secondary schools. This new, €150 million contract will enable the department to do more with less and better prepare for the future by investing heavily in our lower secondary schools, the energy efficiency of the Tour des Archives and selected projects under the global performance contract (marché global de performance — MGP).”

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle added: “Investing in education is a priority for the EIB. We are very proud that the Seine-Maritime department has entrusted us with helping to finance its public infrastructure for young people for the second time, also contributing to the climate transition of lower secondary schools via improved energy efficiency.”

Background information

About the Seine-Maritime department

The French department of Seine-Maritime is a local authority with a budget of more than €1.9 billion for 1.3 million residents. It positions itself as the vanguard of solidarity and territorial cohesion with concrete actions affecting the daily lives of its residents, particularly the most vulnerable. Beyond its support for the Seine-Maritime Numérique initiative, the departmental council is implementing a pro-active policy of providing digital equipment to pupils in the department’s 109 lower secondary schools.

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its 27 Member States. It provides loans to the public and private sectors for sound investment contributing to EU policy goals. In 2023, France received more EIB financing for the energy and green transition than any other country, with an overall investment of €6.9 billion for renewable energy, clean mobility and energy efficiency. As the partner of regional authorities, the EIB allocated over €900 million to the education sector in 2023, a huge increase on the previous year. In secondary education, it signed finance contracts for school construction and renovation projects for lower secondary schools in five departments and upper secondary schools in Île-de-France.