09/28/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/28/2020 02:19
PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved the increase of an existing financing agreement with the Slovak Region of Žilina to €59.5 million. The additional €10 million will allow for critical infrastructure investments to continue as planned, despite the decrease in local revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2015, the CEB was the first international financial institution to provide direct support to the self-governing region of Žilina for a series of vital infrastructure investments across sectors that aimed at reducing regional disparities and improving social cohesion. To date, the CEB has enabled the retrofitting of general and vocational schools as well as the construction and modernisation of healthcare facilities, including of intensive care units. It has helped to rehabilitate regional and local roads, cultural landmarks, social service centres, museums, and public libraries.
In addition, for investments that were eligible for European Union grant funding, the CEB ensured long-term financing for local contributions to the EU programmes as well as short-term bridge financing to accelerate and facilitate the absorption of EU funds.
The present loan increase will allow for the region's investments in health and social care, education and local roads, including those eligible for EU grant funding, to continue well into 2023, for the benefit of its 690 000 inhabitants.
The Governor of the CEB, Rolf Wenzel, said: 'In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEB committed to increase its support to subnational governments. Our commitment has only got stronger this year, as local and regional authorities have faced sharp falls in their revenues and dramatic increases in their immediate social sector spending. This new loan is a testament to this commitment and we are pleased to be able to continue supporting the improvement of essential public services in the Region of Žilina.'
The President of the Region, Erika Jurinová, maintained: 'We appreciate the further cooperation with the CEB, which is the most important financing institution for the Žilina Self-Governing Region, so that we could support new investment projects that will help develop the Region. We are pleased that even in tough times, when municipalities and regions have to face a significant revenue loss, we can use a new advantageous financing scheme to carry out investments and projects as scheduled, mainly in the fields of health care, social services and transport, as well as to implement EU funded projects.'
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 (AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and Aa1 with Moody's, 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.