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CEB approves new loans for social projects

22 January 2016

PARIS - Today, at its 296th meeting held in Paris, the Administrative Council of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved four new loans totalling € 535.1 million.

France: a € 100 million loan to Crédit Agricole S.A. to support the not-for-profit sector, which plays a crucial role in French economy, particularly in the medical-social and education field. This sector comprises 35,000 institutions which accommodate or offer services to vulnerable populations such as children, troubled teenagers, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. The CEB loan will finance construction projects and the upgrade of structures to meet safety and accessibility standards in health and education.

Hungary: a € 49.1 million loan to the government to co-finance the Hungarian Infrastructure and Education Programme, which supports the development of daily physical education courses in primary and secondary education. The CEB loan will finance the construction of schools, gyms and swimming pools, and the renovation of existing sporting facilities. It will also be used for the construction of additional pre-school facilities for very young children, since the compulsory schooling age in Hungary has gone down from five to three years old.

Ireland: a € 200 million loan to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to support SMEs, which represent 70% of jobs in the private sector. SMEs have great difficulty accessing bank financing, with bank interest rates in Ireland being the highest in the Eurozone. The SBCI, which supports the development of local entrepreneurial activity, will use CEB funds to finance long-term SME investments. This will have a positive impact on job creation and the promotion of the entrepreneurial spirit, both of which are key to sustainable economic growth.

Poland: a PLN 800 million loan (approx. € 186 million) to state-owned Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) in order to support the rented housing sector in Poland. This new programme, which is co-financed by the CEB and the EIB, will enable the construction and renovation of affordable rental housing by social housing providers and municipal corporations. The programme will deliver some 30 000 dwellings over a period of ten years. The CEB loan will cover the first five-year period, with a target of 15 000 housing units.

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 stable 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.