EIB Vice-President Czerwińska expressed the Bank’s continuing support for the enlargement process and economic convergence of the Western Balkan region.
EIB Global is set to increase its financial and technical support for renewables, energy efficiency and energy distribution and storage projects, ensuring a just transition.
In 2023, EIB Global has already signed over 700 million euros of new investments for sustainable projects in the region.
At the Berlin Process Leaders’ Summit held in Tirana, EIB Vice-President Czerwińska reiterated the Bank’s commitment to greater connectivity, the green and digital transition, and stronger education and healthcare systems. As a key contributor to the EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, EIB Global will support the new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans by ramping up efforts under the Just Transition Initiative to help the region reap opportunities stemming from the energy transition.
EIB Vice-PresidentCzerwińska stated, “We are as committed as ever to supporting the enlargement process. This support contributes to greater connectivity and a smoother green transition, benefiting fully from the digital agenda and strengthening education and health systems. Since 2009, the EIB has provided nearly €11 billion in public and private sector investment finance in the Western Balkans. We have financed trans-European energy networks and provided inclusive finance for small and medium businesses (SMEs) — investments that link the region physically and economically with the European Union and boost convergence.”
In close cooperation with the European Commission and other partners under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), EIB Global is actively pursuing sustainable investments, including the deployment of clean and renewable energy projects in the public sector and among SMEs. The Bank has already signed 700 million euros of investments in 2023, including a credit line for €100 million to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects by SMEs in North Macedonia. Such projects demonstrate its unwavering determination to boost sustainable growth and improve the investment climate in the region.
“We all agree on the need for better governance, simpler regulations, leveraging the digital transition, enhancing competitiveness by boosting trade and increasing the role of the private sector, and faster deployment of renewable energy. We fully recognise that these recommendations are not easy to implement, but we believe that collectively — including through the Berlin Process — we can use the accession process to boost convergence and expedite the region’s progress to EU membership,” Czerwińska added.
Boosting regional connectivity and economic relations is an important element of the convergence process. In 2023, EIB Global financed 120 million euros in top-up loans to modernise Sarajevo’s urban transport system, and for a road rehabilitation project in Serbia that will make the transportation network safer and more robust and bolster economic growth.
Through EIB Global, the EIB branch for activities outside the European Union, the Bank intends to continue supporting the modernisation of key sustainable connectivity infrastructure throughout the region. This includes expanding the railway network in Albania towards Montenegro, the Corridor VIII in North Macedonia, sections of the Corridor X railway in Serbia, as well as the road Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a long-standing partner to the Western Balkans, the EIB has invested close to 11 billion euros since 2009 for the region’s vital infrastructure, job creation, innovation and SMEs.