On 5 December, Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Philippe Richert, French Minister for Local and Regional Authorities and President of the Alsace Regional Council (eastern France), signed a €40 million loan agreement constituting the first installment of a total €130 million long-term loan. The agreement covers the Alsace Region’s financing needs for the next three years for carrying out phase two of the “LGV Est-Européenne” high speed rail project and modifying the rail network in north Strasbourg.
In granting this loan, the EIB is reaffirming its commitment to support Alsace’s economic development. It has financed several major projects, including the first phase of “LGV Est-Européenne” with a €755 million loan and the Strasbourg tramway – so providing €1 billion for the region’s public transport system alone. Nationwide, as the leading investor in the sustainable public transport sector, the EIB has assisted eight French Regions with their railway refurbishment projects and financed 25 tramways throughout France. High speed train lines are at the heart of its action: in 2011, the EIB financed the “LGV Sud Europe Atlantique” line with a €1.2 billion loan and the “LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire” line with a €552 million loan.
This financing is in keeping with the EIB’s priority of fostering sustainable public transport and substantially reducing urban pollution and CO2 emissions. Over the past ten years, EIB loans for urban transport have totalled more than €4 billion in France and €23.7 billion in the EU as a whole.