EIB invests almost one billion euros in Czechia to improve railways
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will loan 992 million euros to the Czech Ministry of Finance “in support of a major railway upgrade”. This is the largest loan from the EIB to the Czech Republic.
Much of the funds, according to the EIB, will be invested in implementing the country’s railways with the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The system will also be deployed on maintenance vehicles. In addition, the agreement entails an improvement of level crossings as well as the strengthening of cyber-security. Zbyněk Stanjura, the Czech Ministry of Finance, commented that loans through the EIB are one of the best solutions to fund projects, “given the current level of the general government budget deficit”.
EIB-Czech cooperation enhanced by MoU
This agreement is the first concrete step after the EIB and the Czech Ministry of Finance signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2022. The MoU includes the possibility for Prague to get a total of seven billion euros in loans from the EIB throughout the 2023-2027 period. Back then, Stanjura made it known he wanted to unlock the first billion euros of EIB loans within a year, keeping his promise just in time.
It needs to be mentioned that the EIB and the Czech Republic were cooperating even before the signing of the MoU. “In 2022 alone, the EIB made available over €1.7 billion for Czech projects”, the institution mentioned. Some of these funds were already directed towards rail projects, including over 37 million euros for Czech Railways to modernise its rolling stock fleet.