CEB affirms cooperation with Lithuania to promote inclusive growth
9 March 2020
PARIS - CEB Vice-Governor for Target Countries Tomáš Boček signed two loan agreements for a total of €125 milion and met senior government figures, mayors, representatives of local authorities and promotion institutions during a three-day official visit to Lithuania. Vice-Governor Boček also paid a visit to the municipalities of Jonava and Rukla, where the CEB-funded cultural and housing facilities support integration of migrants and refugees.
On 4 March Vice-Governor Boček and Minister of Finance Vilius Šapoka signed a €100 million loan agreement to support Lithuania’s State Investment Programme. The funding will be used to finance construction and renovation of public infrastructure and bolster ‘Lithuania 2030,’ the national strategy focusing on ‘smart society, smart economy and smart governance’. The latest loan is the third CEB operation to support strategic investment in Lithuania, following a €100 million loan in 2014 and a €130 million loan approved in 2009.
The meeting also welcomed the cooperation of state institutions with the CEB in the preparation of a study on social and affordable housing sector in Lithuania. Linas Kukuraitis, Minister of Social Security and Labour, expressed strong support for this initiative, which is expected to offer insights on the provision of social and affordable housing in the country.
On 5 March Vice-Governor Boček met the Mayor of Kaunas Visvaldas Matijošaitis and signed an additional loan agreement of €25 million to fund investments driven by the City’s development plan. More than half of the City’ existing €25 loan with the CEB, approved in 2019, has already been allocated to finance better access to education, health, sports, social and cultural facilities. Overall CEB investments are expected to improve municipal services for the 290,000 inhabitants of the City of Kaunas and the 560,000 people living in Kaunas region.
Vice-Governor Boček was also received by the Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius, with whom he discussed an ongoing loan operation as well as further collaboration opportunities. CEB funding in the amount of €35 million is helping Lithuania’s capital city implement its strategy - to become a friendly, comfortable, changing and innovative place.
The meeting with Ms Roma Zakaitiene, Head of the Association of Lithuanian Local Authorities, provided an opportunity to share the CEB’s vast experience in financing municipal infrastructure projects and discuss the possibilities of new partnerships, building on successful collaboration with Vilnius and Kaunas.
The exchange with Vice-Minister of Environment Marius Narmontas focused on Lithuania’s strategic environmental investments and the possibility to further the partnership with the CEB in this area. A current €100 million CEB loan is financing renovation of the housing stock to improve energy efficiency and help Lithuania achieve its climate targets.
Vice-Governor Boček also met Mr Gvidas Dargužas, the CEO of National Promotional Institution VIPA, to discuss social sectors of common interest, in line with the VIPA’s new strategy and CEB’s Development Plan 2020-2022.
Concluding the visit, Vice-Governor Tomáš Boček said: “We appreciate a very efficient cooperation the CEB established with the Government of Lithuania and the municipalities of Vilnius and Kaunas on social projects benefitting Lithuanian citizens. It is clear from the discussions we had that there is a huge potential and firm commitment on both sides to expand this cooperation to other areas contributing to social development and inclusive growth.”
Lithuania joined the CEB in January 1996. To date, the CEB has approved more than €500 million in loans to support investments in MSMEs and public social infrastructure across sectors and throughout the country. In addition, the CEB has mobilised donor funding from the Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) to assist the municipalities of Jonava and Rukla with their cultural and housing initiatives aimed at migrant and refugee integration.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.