Leaders of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan have pledged to support infrastructure development in Europe as Italy prepares to take on the EU presidency.

Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, said, “The EIB Group, in close co-operation with the Italian Presidency, will keep up its momentum in investing in modern infrastructure in Europe. This is vital for the future of our continent, given the global competition.”

The EIB has approved loans worth €2.9 billion for infrastructure projects, including the upgrade and extension of the Scotia Gas Network’s gas distribution (up to €468 million) and up to €213 million for the modernisation of the Rail Baltica line from Warsaw to the Lithuanian border.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects will be supported with loans worth up to €590 million, including a €280 million loan for hydroelectric power generation in Austria.

The EIB has also approved €600 million for urban renewal and development schemes focusing on social housing and energy resource efficiency in the UK, as well as a loan worth up to €349 million for the construction of 46 new schools in the UK.

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