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The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union, will continue to provide hands-on support for fast, sustainable and green investments for climate action, improved connectivity and COVID-19 recovery.

In doing so, the Bank stands by the Republic of Serbia in its EU accession goals, said EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova during her visit to Serbia earlier this week. Vice-President Pavlova opened the Western Balkans Rail Summit in Belgrade, where regional transport ministers, government and European Commission representatives and rail professionals planned the future development and modernisation of the regional rail network.

During their visit to Serbia, the EIB delegation led by Vice-President Pavlova met Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlović, Minister of Finance Siniša Mali, EU Ambassador to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret and Transport Community Director Matej Zakonjsek. In 2021 alone, the EIB has already signed €325 million worth of investments in Serbia, mostly for private sector COVID-19 recovery and projects to improve energy diversification.

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, who is responsible for EIB operations in the Western Balkans, said: “The EIB remains one of the biggest institutional investors in Serbia and a reliable source of accessible financing and technical support for the country’s public and private sector investments. With over €6.5 billion invested in Serbia to date, we are now looking to increase our presence, especially for sustainable and green transport infrastructure, COVID-19 recovery and climate action. The EU Green Agenda provides a unique opportunity to modernise infrastructure, reduce emissions, and diversify the energy mix. The EIB will also actively support Serbia in attracting financing available from a €30 billion Economic and Investment Plan set up by the European Commission for the Western Balkans.”

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and the Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović stressed that the EIB is a very important partner for the Ministry, recalling the successful cooperation to date. “Your support and assistance is highly significant for us. Together, we accomplished so much when I was heading my former ministry and I believe that in the energy and mining sector we can achieve even more, as we are now at the beginning of important process for the whole region — the energy transition. In addition to current projects such as the construction of the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnection and the smart meters project, there is room for cooperation in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” she said.

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Minister of Finance Siniša Mali thanked EIB Vice-President Pavlova for providing support to Serbia and pointed out the good economic results from this year. “There is no area in which we do not cooperate with this financial institution, and the most important at the moment are those that are most vulnerable in the context of the current pandemic — the economy and health,” he said. In his view, the main facilitator of European investment policy is the European Investment Bank, as it prioritises projects that support the private sector and investments, aiming to improve lives for all.

The EIB is ready to support faster, greener and more sustainable economic growth in Serbia and help the government to pursue its reforms in line with the EU policies and the EU enlargement strategy. With excellent cooperation with the Serbian government and public sector alike, the EU bank looks forward to financing new environmental, digital and transportation projects in the country to ensure the sustainability, modernisation and competitiveness of the Serbian economy.

Source: EIB, Photo: Kabinet potpresednice Vlade Srbije, Ministarstvo rudarstva i energetike

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