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CEB approves €200 million loan to support social projects for vulnerable population groups in Belgium

2 October 2017

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved a €200 million loan to support social projects in Belgium for the benefit of vulnerable populations in areas which are critical for social development such as health, education and vocational training.

The loan will help to meet the country’s increased needs for social investment in educational and retirement facilities. Belgium is experiencing a rise in life expectancy and the population of the country is expected to grow by 40,000 persons a year between 2020 and 2060. It is estimated that around 85,000 refugees and asylum-seekers arrived in 2016-2017 alone.

Against this background, the CEB is channelling financing to public infrastructure projects through Belfius and its leasing subsidiaries. Belfius, which is state-owned, is the local governments’ main financial partner in Belgium and the bank of reference for hospitals, nursing homes, the education sector and social organisations.

CEB funds will be directed to public bodies and not-for-profit organisations in order to finance the construction, extension and renovation of hospitals, retirement homes, vocational training centres, and social facilities for persons with disabilities, refugees, and mental health patients. These social investments will benefit vulnerable population groups, such as dependent or sick persons, the elderly, persons with disabilities, children, young persons, and adults in difficult social circumstances.

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “With this loan agreement, the CEB reaffirms its commitment to providing aid to vulnerable persons, which is a core activity of the Bank. The loan is expected to make an important contribution to improving public infrastructure in Belgium in a range of social sectors, while also strengthening human development and social cohesion. We at the CEB are glad to be inaugurating a business relationship with Belfius, a leader in the public and social sector in Belgium with an extensive network of subsidiaries nationwide.”

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 (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, 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.

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