The Western Balkans
Albania, Serbia, Kosovo under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, and Bosnia Herzegovina.
The European Investment Bank has been active in the countries of South Eastern Europe for several years and is progressively increasing its long-term lending in the region.
The EIB has been active in the Western Balkans since 1977 and is today the largest international financier in the area. Over the past ten years, the Bank has financed projects totaling EUR 7.3 bn in the Western Balkans. The Bank's focus has been on the implementation of transport, energy, health and education projects, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local authorities, industry and services, water and sanitation.
- In 2010, the EIB concluded in the Western Balkan countries loan contracts reaching an annual record level of EUR 1.426 bn. This represents a substantial increase compared to EIB lending of EUR 577 m in the region in 2008.
Cooperation with other institutions
The EIB co-finances major projects in the region with other International Financial Institutions, particularly the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank, as well as with bilateral donors.
In December 2009, the EIB launched, together with the European Commission, the Council of Europe Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). This provides a joint grant facility and a joint lending facility for priority investments in the region. The objective is to simplify access to credit by pooling and coordinating different sources of finance and technical assistance. An initial focus on infrastructure sectors, including social infrastructure, will be expanded to include support for small businesses.
While continuing its support for reconstruction and upgrading of the regional and municipal networks of basic infrastructure (transport, energy and the environment), the EIB plans to increase its assistance to the private sector and lend more in the health and education sectors in the coming years.