EIB steps up support for Western Balkans in EU accession process
- Release date: 25 April 2018
- Reference: 2018-107-EN
- President Hoyer joins the President of the European Council Donald Tusk for Western Balkans visit
- EIB announces further support after providing EUR 7bn in financing for economic and social development in the region since 2007
- EUR 45m loan to improve the air traffic control system in Serbia and Montenegro
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is determined to support the EU’s Western Balkans strategy by stepping up financing and advice for the region. This was stressed by EIB President Werner Hoyer during a joint visit to Serbia today with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. The EIB Group is already one of the region’s biggest public financiers, providing more than EUR 7bn since 2007 in close cooperation with the EU and other financial institutions. It is already active in some of the key areas highlighted by the strategy including increasing connectivity and supporting socio-economic development, and is looking forward to working with the region to enhance the digital economy.
Together with President Tusk, President Hoyer met with the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić. As part of this dialogue, the EIB President underlined the EU Bank’s substantial contribution to socio-economic development in Serbia and the whole Western Balkans region, and its commitment to continuing and expanding this support, helping the region to consolidate the economic fundamentals critical for the EU accession process.
At the same event, the EIB signed a new EUR 45m loan to finance an upgrade of the air traffic control system in Serbia and Montenegro. This project will help both countries meet relevant EU regulations and advance their EU accession process in the field of air transport. It is also part of the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) aiming to improve living conditions and stabilize economies in regions that have been affected by conflict and migration.
The EU budget guarantee backing the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative made it possible to extend the EIB loan to the public Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency Ltd (SMATSA). The investments will increase the capacity of the system, improve safety and cost efficiency and enhance the air transport connectivity of the region.
Including today’s signature, the EIB has already committed nearly EUR 550m of financing in the Western Balkans, contributing to the economic resilience in the region.
EIB President Werner Hoyer commented: “Investing in the Western Balkans means investing in the future of Europe. The EIB is committed to being a reliable partner to the public and private sector in the region. We are committed to boosting economic resilience, upgrading and developing social and economic infrastructure and furthering private sector growth and job creation.”
Vice President Dario Scannapieco added: “Improving connectivity in the Western Balkans and between the region and the EU is one of the main targets of the EU’s Western Balkans strategy. Today’s contract with SMATSA will benefit passengers, airlines and airport companies alike. And it will reduce emissions by improving traffic flows.”