Accelerate the recovery and economic transformation of the Western Balkans
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union, has been a reliable partner of the Western Balkans for more than 40 years, helping the region overcome many economic and social challenges, accelerate growth and move forward towards EU membership. As one of the largest foreign investors in the region, EIB financing has contributed to the deployment of new or reconstructed highways, schools, hospitals, laboratories and judicial buildings. Since 2009 alone, the EU bank has invested nearly â¬ 10 billion in various projects across the region, helping to improve living and business conditions and maintain over half a million jobs .
Green recovery is essential
Today, both the world and the Western Balkans are at a crossroads. The global health pandemic and climate change have intertwined to create a dual threat to humanity. The only way to face it successfully is to combine our efforts and resources to facilitate green recovery. If we are to save our planet from devastating climate change and associated economic and social disasters, we must transform our societies and economies to become carbon neutral and sustainable based on the circular economy model.
The EIB is also the EU’s climate bank, a leader in financing climate action and environmental sustainability projects not only in Europe, but also around the world. We are now committed to devoting more than 50% of annual funding to green investments by 2025, and we will support â¬ 1 trillion of investments in green projects by 2030. These initiatives will support economic transformation and sustainability. inclusive growth.
Our ambitious plan to support and finance global climate action is outlined in the EIB Climate Bank roadmap adopted in 2020.
The EIB stands ready to increase its investments in the Western Balkans and support the region’s economic transition. In 2020, it signed â¬ 873 million in new investments in the Western Balkans for the development of vital infrastructure and support for the private sector.
In collaboration with Team Europe, the EIB has stepped up its support to accelerate socio-economic recovery and has already honored its commitment of 1.7 billion euros as part of Team Europe’s response to COVID-19 announced in May 2020.
For the private sector alone, we have provided â¬ 715 million since the start of the pandemic to help small businesses keep their businesses, production and jobs and grow further. The EIB kept pace in the first half of 2021, already agreeing on new projects for the region for a total amount of almost â¬ 600 million.
Restoration of regional railways
In the coming years, our priorities will be aligned with the economic and investment plan launched by the European Commission in 2020. This document is the largest investment plan for the Western Balkans in the modern history of the region, offering a model for a sustainable economy and social development. The plan provides nearly â¬ 30 billion in funding for projects in the areas of sustainable mobility, the creation of the common market, green and digital transition, inclusive growth and reforms linked to membership of the EU.
In July 2021, EIB President Werner Hoyer announced his intention to step up support for the transition to greener, more digital and inclusive economic growth. He spoke at the Berlin Process Summit, a platform that helps foster partnership between EU Member States and Western Balkan countries, and push forward initiatives such as the connectivity agenda , the green agenda, digital transformation and the common regional market.
The EIB has been an active partner from the start of the Berlin process, and we will continue to provide financial and technical expertise to the region’s strategic infrastructure projects and necessary legislative reforms, in collaboration with the European Commission and others. financial partners.
The European Commission Rail Summit, which the EIB is organizing jointly with the Transport Community and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to mark the European Year of Rail, is an important step towards sustainable mobility. The summit will take place in Belgrade in September and will help reach consensus on the goals of modernizing the most important railways in the region. To date, the EIB has invested over â¬ 5 billion in the transport sector of the Western Balkans, supporting regional relations, trade and connectivity.
Better living and business conditions
In addition to investments in roads and railways, the EIB will continue to invest in sustainable transport models such as inland waterway navigation and urban transport projects. In 2021, the EIB signed the first financing agreement for sustainable mobility in the Western Balkans for the reconstruction of the urban transport network in the canton of Sarajevo.
We are ready to finance the green transition by setting up a more reliable, renewable and efficient energy network, and to help develop climate action and sustainability projects. The region’s public and private sectors will continue to benefit from EIB technical assistance for project preparation, more accessible loans and our ability to combine EU grants with our funding to obtain the best conditions. possible for our partners.
The EIB will also continue to invest in the digitalization of the private sector and public institutions to facilitate the creation of a common market that is well connected and meets EU standards. In 2020, the same year the pandemic started, the EIB Group signed â¬ 125 million in loans and grants to improve the digital infrastructure of Serbian schools and small and medium-sized businesses.
Creating a better business climate with resilient small and medium-sized enterprises and innovative entrepreneurship will provide new employment opportunities, increase competitiveness and improve the quality of life of people in the region.
The EIB stands ready to support and finance the region’s transformation into a green, clean and sustainable market capable of creating jobs, income and a future for all its citizens, and ultimately becoming an integral part of the European Union.