EIB Global, the European Investment Bank’s arm for non-EU activities, has made a landmark investment of €1.2 billion in the Western Balkans for 2023, surpassing the previous year by €365 million. This funding is dedicated to advancing sustainable and energy transition projects that align with the region’s EU accession goals and efforts to boost economic, climate, and connectivity frameworks.
EIB Vice-President Kyriacos Kakouris emphasized the strategic alignment of these investments with the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan and the Global Gateway initiative, aiming to address infrastructural deficits and elevate living standards. A significant portion of the funds, 58% or €693 million, is allocated to enhancing transportation, including major railway upgrades in Serbia and North Macedonia, alongside urban transport modernization in Sarajevo and road safety projects in Serbia. Additionally, 23% of the total funding, amounting to €275 million, is earmarked to support SMEs, with the remainder targeting critical sectors like energy, water, healthcare, and education.
The EIB’s commitment extends beyond financing to include technical advisory support, notably for a water project in Tirana and a climate action initiative for SMEs in North Macedonia. In line with its climate goals, over 61% of the EIB’s 2023 projects in the region contribute to climate action and environmental sustainability, with new initiatives in renewable energy and clean infrastructure.
Furthermore, in partnership with local and international financial institutions, EIB Global has facilitated affordable credit for SMEs to foster growth, job creation, and environmental sustainability. The European Investment Fund, part of the EIB Group, is also implementing a guarantee facility expected to unlock €700 million for SMEs, reinforcing the EIB Group’s significant role in the region’s developmental trajectory.