EIB funds environmental projects in Latvia and Spain
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced loans totalling 62 million euro to Latvia and Spain for major environmental projects. The loan of 20m euro to the Republic of Latvia will support mainly environmental priority investments by medium and small-sized Latvian municipalities. Particular focus is being given to projects in the sectors of water, wastewater, solid waste and urban infrastructure and equipment with a significant positive impact on the environment. The rehabilitation and upgrading of municipal infrastructure, particularly in the environmental area, will contribute to Latvia's sustainable economic growth, helping to protect public health and amenities, as well as having a beneficial impact on fisheries, agriculture, recreation and tourism, according to the EIB. The schemes will contribute to bringing Latvian environmental standards in line with those of the European Union (EU), as foreseen under the Accession Partnership Agreement signed between Latvia and the EU. Overall, the investment will have a positive impact in the Baltic Sea area in keeping with the HELCOM agreement (Helsinki Commission for the environmental protection of the Baltic Sea). The loan for 42m euro to Entidad Pública de Saneamiento de Aguas Residuales de la Comunidad Valenciana in Spain will fund upgrading of the region's sewage treatment facilities. The project comprises construction or modernization of 28 wastewater treatment plants, building a new marine outfall, rehabilitation of seven existing outfalls and technical upgrading and extension of the sewerage network, including a number of pumping stations. The works form part of the Wastewater Treatment Master Plan adopted by the regional government in 1993, the first phase of which was funded by a previous EIB loan. An important tourist venue, the Valencia Region has a population of some 4 million, rising to nearly 6 million in the summer months. As a major industrial centre, it also needs state-of-the-art environmental protection systems. The planned investment in wastewater treatment facilitates will contribute to safeguarding the region's environmental resources, improving the quality of life of its inhabitants and enhancing the attraction of its beaches to tourists. The EIB was founded in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community, with the aim of fostering enhanced integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion in the Member States by providing long-term financing for capital investment furthering attainment of European Union objectives. To support small and medium-scale projects, the EIB makes use of its global loan facility, devised by the Bank in 1968. Global loans are basically lines of credit opened to banks and other financial intermediaries operating at national, regional or local level, which pass on the proceeds, in the form of sub-loans, for smaller-scale investment schemes complying with the EIB's lending criteria.