EIB pledge for the Western Balkans: Investments in competitiveness, innovation and climate top priorities

European Investment Bank EIB
  • Competitiveness, innovation and climate are top priorities for the EIB in the Western Balkans. Roads, railways, water treatment plants, schools, hospitals and SMEs also supported by the EU Bank; 
  • Western Balkans Investment Framework expands from connectivity to include the environment, social economy, digital agenda and a new Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, which the EIB is committed to continuing supporting; 
  • EUR 11 million for the first urban regeneration project in the region for the EIB; 
  • With EUR 8 billion invested in the Western Balkans since 2008 (EUR 1.1 billion in 2018 alone), EIB involvement mobilized at least EUR 16 billion in investments.

The European Investment Bank remains committed to the economic and social development of the Western Balkans and plans to grow its investment portfolio in the region, prioritizing competitiveness, innovation and climate projects, announced the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Werner Hoyer at the Poznań Summit for the Western Balkans today. 

The EU Bank will continue to support projects allowing increased competitiveness of the Western Balkan economies, which improve transport connectivity links, but also better access to finance for entrepreneurs. Investment in climate action will mean the EIB as Europe`s Climate Bank, will sustain the region’s energy transition to modernize infrastructure, reduce emissions, and diversify the energy mix to increase the security of supply.

President Hoyer said addressing the Summit in the Polish city of Poznań, “The EIB Group accompanied Poland’s success story by investing €64.2 billion for the benefit of its citizens since 1990. The EU bank stands ready to replicate such success in the Western Balkans. Our activities are designed to support the implementation of the EU’s enlargement policy and we stand ready to do more in the region with a wide range of different finance and advisory products”. 

Western Balkans Investment Framework expands and grows

At the summit margins, the EIB signed a new agreement in support of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) accepting a contribution from Poland of EUR 500,000 to a Joint Fund co-managed by the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The WBIF allows the EIB to channel additional support into the region and promote cohesion both within the region and within the European Union.

The Western Balkan Investment Framework blends EIB loans with grants and crowding in private investment. To date, it has mobilised EUR 18 billion of investment. In the future, it will expand from transport and energy connectivity to provide support for the environment, the social economy, the digital agenda and a new Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.

New Project Signed in Poznan – Urban regeneration of Tirana

During the Summit, the EIB signed its first urban regeneration project in the Western Balkans investing EUR 11 million in the Lana river project in the Albanian capital city of Tirana. The project will bring flood protection, public transport and climate change resilience for 65,000 citizens of the capital. A portion of the investment – grant of EUR 2.4 million – comes from the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI).

President Hoyer said, “Projects like this support towns and cities that are the engines of the Western Balkans’ economies and act as catalysts for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship throughout the region”.

On 4 July in Belgrade, the EIB signed another similar project under ERI, a EUR 1.1 million grant with the City of Belgrade to support improvements in water and sewage system in Serbia’s capital.

“We look forward to working with our partners in the Western Balkans to bring tangible improvements in the quality of life for all the citizens in the region” concluded the EIB President.

Intensifying support for THE Economic Resilience Initiative

ERI supports countries in the EU’s Southern Neighborhood and Western Balkans to tackle migration and other challenges by stimulating investments in jobs creation and services like energy, transport, water, sanitation and education.  In doing so, the EIB initiative increases the economic and social resilience of target countries and helps them to better deal with future crises and shocks, while maintaining stronger growth.

Apart from receiving guarantees from the European Commission, ERI benefits from individual donations of the EU member states including Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.