The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced its involvement in the financing of airport improvements in Italy and work on Hungary’s railways.

In Italy, it is helping finance Lombardy’s two airports while it is providing co-financing with European Union funds to support the rehabilitation and reconstruction of facilities in the Hungarian railway sector.

A €140 million finance contract has been signed in Milan, Italy, with SEA, the management company for Linate and Malpensa airports.

The EIB loan will cover about 50% of a significant part of the finance required under the 2014 to 2020 investment plan for the modernisation of Malpensa which is being implemented by SEA. This includes the construction of a new rail link between the airport’s two terminals, which will be undertaken with Ferrovienord Milano, which manages over 300km of rail and 120 stations in the region.

This is the first direct financing operation undertaken by the bank of the European Union with SEA.

The EIB said the operation came under the policy of the construction and modernisation of trans-European transport networks (TEN-T).

EIB vice president Dario Scannapieco said, “With the crisis, there has been a decline in investment everywhere, both in Europe generally and even more so in our country. Also at the instigation of the Italian Presidency of the European Union, the Commission has placed boosting investment centre stage, an essential priority for reviving growth and ensuring Europe’s long-term competitiveness.”

SEA chairman Pietro Modiano said, “This new financing operation builds on the 20-year-long relationship between SEA and the EIB, which has consistently supported the growth of Malpensa, one of the hubs of the TEN-T network. This operation strengthens SEA’s financial structure and strikes the right balance between medium/long-term and short-term finance.”

In Hungary, the EIB is providing HUF57 billion (€184 million) to support rehabilitation of the railway sector in co-financing projects with a total cost of €1.2 billion.

The individual sub-projects are located throughout Hungary, and are focused on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of various TEN-T railway lines, as well as adding electric trains for Budapest area, and the installation of wireless communication on certain TEN-T corridors.

The EIB said the project would contribute to improving the efficiency, comfort and safety of the railway system, and would therefore enhance the attractiveness of rail transport.

This loan is being provided in the form of a Structural Programme Loan and it supports implementation of projects receiving funds in both the 2007 to 2013 and 2014 to 2020 EU programming periods. Therefore, in addition to larger projects, the EIB loan may also be used to finance smaller schemes, which, because of their limited size, would otherwise not qualify for direct EIB financing.

László Baranyay, EIB vice president responsible for lending in Hungary, said, “EIB funds will co-finance priority projects expected to have a beneficial impact on passenger demand for both commuter and long-distance rail transport.

“These projects will increase railway capacity, comfort and safety, thereby contributing to the attractiveness of this sustainable mode of transport.”

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