The European Investment Bank approved a string of large loans in December worth nearly €2.5 billion for projects to improve transport and energy networks throughout Europe and the surrounding area.
The largest recent funding agreement saw the EIB approve two loans totalling €735 million to support infrastructure in Poland. The bulk of the funds - €600 million - will finance an 88km extension of the A4 motorway and a 67km extension of the S17 expressway, both in south-east Poland.
A further €135 million loan will support the construction and operation of the first Polish liquefied natural gas import terminal in Swinoujscie on the Baltic Sea coast.
Meanwhile in Romania, the EIB provided two loans totalling €500 million, the majority of which will support the development of the metro system in Bucharest, with a smaller loan to fund improvements to electricity generation.
A €456 million loan will finance the design, construction and commissioning of the second section of Bucharest Metro Line Five - a project to develop a new east-west underground public transport corridor.
The remaining €33 million is a loan to support improvements to Unit 4 of the Paroseni coal-fired combined heat and power plant in central-western Romania, on the banks of the Jiu River.
Prague metro expansion
The EIB also approved a loan for €350 million to support the extension of Metro Line A in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. This loan will finance a 6.1km double-track extension of one of the three lines of the Prague Metropolitan network, from the current end-station Dejvická in the north-west part of the city, under the westbound Evropská avenue, and then south-west to the Motol Hospital area.
In further rail financing, the EIB also approved a €400 million loan to support construction of the Istanbul to Ankara high speed rail line in Turkey. The additional funding brings the total EIB support for this high speed railway line to €1.25 billion.
Finally, the EIB provided a €140 million loan to support the construction of new wind turbines in Austria. A total of 45 new wind turbines with an overall capacity of 131 MW will be built in Großhofen (Lower Austria) and Nickelsdorf, Mönchhof and Halbturn Süd (Burgenland). The project owner, ImWind, will be responsible for both the construction and operation of the turbines.