EIB and UniCredit Bank Serbia launch €30 million credit line to support jobs and training
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and UniCredit Bank Serbia (UniCredit) have officially launched a €30 million line of credit aimed at supporting employment, vocational training and long-term retention of people from ethnic groups. vulnerable social groups. These funds will enable UniCredit to on-lend to Serbian companies that are committed to improving the social impact of their operations and creating long-term employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for women, youth and segments of the population facing higher entry barriers to the labor market. market. Representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the EU Delegation to Serbia attended the launch ceremony, expressing their support for this type of financial instruments with a social purpose.
In addition to funding, Serbian companies will receive a performance-based financial reward if they achieve specific goals to foster leadership, employment and professional development opportunities for women, youth and groups who often face additional barriers to accessing these opportunities (people with disabilities, refugees, etc.). The financial reward is provided as a grant under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI), which aims to stimulate job creation and sustainable private sector growth. This is the first EIB loan to the private sector in the Western Balkans under the ERI, which will contribute to the most important objectives related to the promotion of sustainable development. The EIB will also provide technical assistance for the preparation and implementation of projects in order to achieve the set objectives which will have a wider social impact.
“This innovative loan is part of the EIB’s response to the current crises, as we strive to address existing social disparities and chart a course for more socially inclusive growth. It falls under our new arm – EIB Global – which we created to increase the impact of development finance, broaden our partnerships within Team Europe and strengthen the reach of our financial and technical assistance beyond the European Union, including in Serbia and throughout the Western Balkan region.Our cooperation with UniCredit is an exemplary model that helps us increase our support both for socially responsible businesses and for hard-to-employ social groups to overcome barriers to employment.In this way, we contribute to the socio-economic growth of Serbia and the creation of equal opportunities for all,” said EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, who is responsible for the Western Balkans.
“Sustainability is a key pillar of UniCredit’s business strategy and this includes our strong social commitment. Today, I am particularly pleased to be able, together with colleagues from our local bank in Serbia, to support the start-up of this new line unique credit facility in cooperation with the European Investment Bank. Our group is constantly striving to support relevant projects and initiatives focused on creating long-term sustainable value in our communities,” said Teodora Petkova, Head of Eastern Europe at UniCredit “We have a long-standing collaboration with the EIB Group. Over the past few years, we have collectively launched various risk-sharing solutions in Central and Eastern Europe that have helped over 10,000 clients , enabling more than €2.5 billion in new lending. I believe that our successful partnership will continue in the future and I would also like to thank the representatives thanks to the Government of the Republic of Serbia for recognizing the great value that this unique line of credit brings,” she added.
“We are extremely proud that the European Investment Bank has recognized UniCredit Bank as a true partner and that we are the first Western Balkan bank to sign a loan agreement under the Economic Resilience Initiative. I always emphasize the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises, which is the main pillar of our country’s economic progress, and I am sure that this line of credit will help to further improve the development of our economy, with the aim of building a more sustainable society. UniCredit Bank Serbia remains a partner to the state, our local businesses and citizens, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia who, through their presence and support , have contributed to the importance of promoting this line of credit.So far, UniCredit Bank and UniCredit Leasing, in collaboration with the EIB, have invested more than 219 million euros in projects in Serbia,” said Nikola Vule. tić, Chairman of the Board of UniCredit Bank Serbia.
Head of Project Department for Economy and SMEs of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, Martin Klaucke, said: “This is just another expression of how the EU supports the economy in Serbia and helps businesses succeed while promoting social inclusion.As the EU, we offer many grants and also facilitate credit.This project can serve two purposes: to reduce barriers to employment for people who most need to be inserted into the labor market, while not forgetting the economic aspects of It is both socially and economically a big business.
Minister of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, Darija Kisić, stressed that these projects support companies with a strong social mission by helping vulnerable groups and categories of the population who find it difficult to find work. In her address, Commissioner for Equality Protection Brankica Janković underlined how important it is for all of us to be initiators and carriers of change and to share the value of equal rights for all in order to improve our society. Gordana Gavrilović, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister for Gender Equality, supported this project and called on all companies to follow the example of the EIB and UniCredit and contribute to the creation of an equal and inclusive society in Serbia.