CEB to fund the expansion and upgrade of essential water and wastewater services in Finland and Lithuania

3 February 2021

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) will support the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (Finland) and the Kaunas Water Company (Lithuania) in their efforts to expand and modernise their water and wastewater systems. The loans - € 100 million and € 28.8 million, respectively - are the first to be approved by the CEB for the benefit of the two public utilities.

The financing for the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority will help with the provision of clean water supply and wastewater services to newly developed districts in the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen which, together, constitute the Helsinki metropolitan area. In addition, the loan will support wider water and wastewater system resizing and efficiency improvements, as required by the network expansion. The Helsinki metropolitan area grows at a rate of about 20 000 new residents per year; the CEB will back investments that will benefit some 155 000 new residents.

The loan to the Kaunas Water Company will help the utility to modernise and expand the water supply and wastewater systems in the city in line with European water and wastewater directives. For example, the financing will contribute to the installation of additional drinking water purification plants and to the connection to the sewerage system of those areas that are currently using individual wastewater collection containers. The investments will thus improve the availability and the quality of drinking water and reduce the negative impact of wastewater leakage on surface and ground water bodies. They will benefit more than 140 000 inhabitants, or 40% of the water company’s current customers.

Both approvals capitalise on CEB’s recent cooperation with the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and with Kaunas City Municipality on other types of social infrastructure improvements.

The Governor of the CEB, Rolf Wenzel, said: “We are delighted to start working with the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority and the Kaunas Water Company. Ensuring sustainable access to high-quality and affordable essential services for all is one of the most effective ways to promote social cohesion, particularly in times of crisis. This is why the CEB will continue to actively support investments in water supply and wastewater services, on a par with those in other essential services with a high social value, such as education, health, or housing, and with a focus on climate resilience.”

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 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, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable and AAA* with Scope 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.