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Belgium: CEB to provide €300 million for social investments in education

28 January 2019

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is extending a substantial €300 million loan to the Federation of Wallonia-Brussels (FWB) to finance a variety of education facilities in Brussels and the Walloon Region. 

Young persons up to 24 years old make up almost one-third of the total population of the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region, which also have some of the highest population growth rates in Belgium. In addition, recent years have seen the arrivals of large numbers of migrants in Belgium, including many unaccompanied minors. The FWB has put in place a social investment programme in education aimed at tackling the challenges related to rapid demographic changes. 

The funds provided by the CEB will contribute to the implementation of the above-mentioned programme, which involves the construction and renovation of facilities at all levels of education (crèches, nursery and primary schools, secondary schools, higher education institutions) as well as youth support facilities, and sports and cultural centres. Particular emphasis is placed on energy efficiency measures, including the use of renewable energy sources. 

The FWB programme addresses the issue of the increasing number of pupils and students enrolled in schools and academic institutions, and responds to specific needs in terms of upgrading facilities in the education sector, including innovative measures to increase energy efficiency and modern solutions to improve the learning environment. It will also contribute to the integration of migrant and refugee children into the education system. 

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “Education is key to giving young people the chance to build a life for themselves and, in doing so, to make their own contribution to society. This is why the CEB attaches great importance to the financing of projects in the education sector. I am pleased that this loan will contribute to the implementation of the FWB’s programme in this important area of social development, benefiting a large number of young persons, including of migrant and refugee background.”

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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