The core mission of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is to advance social cohesion throughout Europe. Notably, the CEB serves as an essential implementing partner for InvestEU, with a guarantee agreement valued at up to €159 million.
From the perspective of final beneficiaries, CEB financing offers a heightened level of flexibility. Although the financial instruments primarily comprise loans, the co-financing rates for projects are subject to negotiation. This approach significantly enhances flexibility compared to products offered by the EIB. Furthermore, the CEB has the capacity to deploy grant resources through its fiduciary accounts, thereby enabling to subsidize interest rates, provision of technical assistance, and covering a portion of investment costs.
This adaptability in support mechanisms often leads to collaborative efforts between the CEB and the EIB in co-financing projects. Recent instances of such cooperation include loans provided to bolster initiatives in Poland, Slovakia, and Portugal.
Eligibility and link to social and affordable housing
Social and affordable housing stand as a key sector for the provision of loans by the CEB. The Bank frequently channels its financial support towards the development of sustainable and affordable housing, particularly benefiting vulnerable demographics such as large families, young individuals, low-income populations, Roma communities, and refugees who encounter difficulties in accessing housing or securing it under unfavorable conditions.
The CEB actively backs projects related to housing renovation, construction, refurbishment, building acquisition, and conversion into residential units. The primary objective is to generate substantial social advantages and ensure decent housing for low-income individuals and specific middle-income groups, aligning with social housing criteria as defined by national legislation where applicable.
In determining project eligibility, the CEB employs its own set of criteria, which include factors such as income levels, floor area, ownership status, and residency. Within the realm of energy-related activities, eligible initiatives encompass the construction or refurbishment of housing and the conversion of existing structures to make them suitable for residential purposes. These projects may be oriented toward facilitating property ownership or providing rental housing, often in alignment with national and local government-supported schemes.
Eligible projects have the capacity to address a broad spectrum of housing needs, including facilitating access to property ownership, rental housing, and the associated infrastructure essential for a quality living environment. This infrastructure encompasses ensuring access to reliable and affordable utilities such as water, electricity, and gas, as well as the efficient collection and treatment of wastewater and solid waste. Additionally, eligible projects may encompass the development of commercial premises and the establishment of recreational areas.
Example of recently approved loan for social housing – Germany
The CEB is providing the state-owned housing company Gewobag with a €100 million loan for the construction of 253 new residential units, a refugee centre, and the modernisation of 1462 residential units in Berlin. It is the first loan provided for financing a project in which Gewobag is cooperating with the CEB, with the objective to modernise and increase the affordable housing stock in Berlin. The planned new buildings will predominantly meet the ‘Efficiency House 55’ standard, therefore complying with the requirements of the applicable energy regulations.
How to apply?
Handbook for the preparation of projects: https://coebank.org/documents/1319/Handbook_for_the_Preparation_and_Implementation_of_Projects_March_2023.pdf
Contact person: KULENOVIC Samir, Senior Housing Advisor Samir.KULENOVIC@coebank.org