CEB provides €177 million for investments in Romania’s prison system

19 November 2018

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved a €177 million loan to the Romanian government for the construction of new facilities that will strengthen the country’s prison system and improve detention conditions.

Romania’s prison system, which comprises a total of 44 prison facilities and just over 22,000 detainees, is facing a space and staffing shortage and is therefore in need of modernisation. The Romanian government has put a strategy in place for the period 2018-2024, with measures aimed at easing prison overcrowding and improving detention conditions. 

The loan provided by the CEB will make a major contribution to governmental plans to enhance the quality and capacity of its prison facilities. More specifically, the CEB funds will be used for the construction of a high-security prison in Berceni for 1,000 places and a prison in Unguriu with a capacity of 900 places. In addition, the CEB will support the construction of facilities for prison staff, including for training and professional development, in the city of Pantelimon and also in the city of Rodbav. The design and running of the prison facilities will conform to the European Prison Rules (EPR). 

In addition to benefiting inmates and staff by providing new, modern facilities, the project will help to improve Romania’s prison system and infrastructure as a whole, relieving overcrowding and ensuring that facilities adhere to best international practices and standards. 

The Governor of the CEB, Mr Rolf Wenzel, expressed his satisfaction with the approval of this loan and said: “The CEB and Romania maintain an excellent cooperation in several social areas. I am pleased that this substantial loan will support the government’s plans to improve its prison facilities and strengthen compliance with international standards. A strong judiciary and an effective penitentiary system are key to upholding the rule of law, which is one of the core values of the Council of Europe and the CEB.” 

Romania joined the CEB in 1996 and has had loans approved for 33 projects amounting to € 1.9 billion. CEB operations cover a number of areas, including the rehabilitation of important historical and cultural buildings such as the Royal Palace in Bucharest, the Romanian Opera House, the Palace of Culture in Iasi, and the National Library. More recently, the CEB has approved loans to finance the activities of the Roma Education Fund Romania; support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country through Raiffeisen Leasing Romania; and finance a social housing programme aimed at providing affordable housing for more than 10,000 young persons through the construction and rehabilitation of 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 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.