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    Reference: 20080609
    Release date: 10 August 2009

    Promoter – Financial Intermediary

    European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO)



    The project concerns the design, development and construction of a 42-meter mirror optical telescope system, including post-focal Adaptive and Active Optics modules, scientific instruments (spectrographs for a variety of wavelengths, and electronic imaging equipment), as well as the construction of telescope dome, mounting system and drives, technical offices and infrastructure.


    The science case for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is drawn from many areas of astronomy and it covers a huge range of topics: from our own solar system to extra-solar planets, from nearby galaxies to the furthest observable objects at the edge of the visible Universe, from fundamental physics to cosmology.
    EIB financing of this unique research infrastructure corresponds with the Community objective under the Treaty’s Article 163 to strengthen the scientific and technological basis of Community industry and to encourage research centres and universities in their research and technological development activities and is in line with the common interest criteria retained under the EC Treaty’s Article 267 point c): Knowledge Economy; Research and Development. It is also in line with the Council Decision concerning the 7th Framework Programme (No. 1982/2006/EC) for the Community to support the construction of new infrastructures (Capacities).


    The project is eligible under the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF). The RSFF is an innovative scheme jointly set up by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank  to improve access to debt financing for private companies or public institutions promoting activities in the field of  Research, Technological Development, Demonstration and Innovation investments. 
    RSFF is built on the principle of credit risk sharing between the European Community and the EIB and extends therefore the ability of the Bank to provide loans or guarantees with a higher financial risk profile. The scheme also provides a wealth of opportunities for new and innovative EIB financing solutions directed at the private and public sector, research infrastructures and the research community as a whole.


    Proposed EIB finance (Approximate amount)

    EUR 300 million.

    Total cost (Approximate amount)

    EUR 900 million.

    Environmental aspects

    Although the project will likely be implemented outside the EU, it would, given its size and the likely pristine location, fall under Annex II of Directive 97/11. The promoter will inform the Bank about the decision of the competent authorities whether an EIA will be needed and, if such is the case, submit to the Bank the EIA and its non-technical summary, for publication on the Bank’s website.


    ESO is an inter-governmental organisation and its Financial Rules and Regulations and Procurement Procedures require calls for tenders and price inquiries before awarding contracts.


    Signed - 30/11/2012


    Before financing approval by the Board of Directors, and before loan signature, projects are under appraisal and negotiation. The data provided on this page is therefore indicative and cannot be considered to represent official EIB policy (see also the Explanatory notes).

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