The EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative
Launched in 2016, ERI is part of the European Union’s response to the challenges in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans, such as forced displacement and migration, economic downturns, political crises, droughts and flooding.
ERI creates jobs and economic growth in the region by investing in key infrastructure and in private sector development. It also may help migration flows.
ERI offers a package of loans and innovative financial products, while blending funds from the donor community with EIB financing. The initiative is implemented in close cooperation with EU countries, the European Commission and other partners. Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom were the first EU countries to contribute to ERI.
Under ERI, more than 59 projects have been approved for a total of €5.26 billion in investment. The initiative is expected to provide a total of €15 billion in extra financing. Well over half of that went into private sector development. Lending through partner banks alone is set to benefit over 11,000 smaller businesses and mid-caps, helping to sustain more than 211,000 jobs. Public sector investments currently amount to €1.35 billion
The EU, working together
The Economic Resilience Initiative forms part of the joined up EU response to the challenges posed by forced displacement and migration, and is implemented in close cooperation with EU member states, the European Commission, donors and other partners.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom have all made vital contributions to the Economic Resilience Initiative.
To make a difference in the partner countries, the EIB is building on over three decades of experience supporting investment projects in the region. Given the urgency and importance for the EU, the EIB has started stepping up its support to the two regions in late 2016 as part of its own commitment to the Economic Resilience Initiative. With the arrival of the first donor contributions towards the end of 2017, the Bank has also started preparations on high-impact projects, which depend on support from donor resources.
What is the geographical scope of the Economic Resilience Initiative?
Eligible countries are:
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia
Examples of EIB-supported projects that are already making a difference for the people in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans:
Industrial zones show how EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative helps countries respond to migration struggles. It is hard to start a business in Lebanon. Land prices are high and it is difficult to find financing. Worse, many industrial areas around the country lack proper access to electricity, communications and transport.
For 20 years, the Microfund for Women has provided financing to women across Jordan and helped boost their confidence to engage in business. The first EIB microfinance operation in Jordan, underpinned by EU funding, is helping low-income entrepreneurs with small loans and technical assistance.
Combining EIB expertise, venture capital and EU grants, Silicon Badia provides expertise and capital to empower young and female entrepreneurs in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region. Amina Al Ramadna is one of them. "When you go to a normal bank they ask for approval from your husband. Here, they looked at the business as a whole,” she explains.
Syrian refugee children in Lebanon study a Cloud-based version of the Lebanese curriculum on $60-tablets. An online education company financed by the EIB is making it happen. Investments like this help Syrian children, whose lives have been disrupted by war, to catch up with some of the studies they may have missed—and also support innovation and job-creating new companies.
Montenegro's railway used to be one of its big accomplishments. It was the largest and most expensive infrastructure project in the former Yugoslav federation. But now it has fallen into decay. With our help, the railway plans a comeback.
Nis Clinical Centre stalled for a half century, until EIB financing helped build Serbia’s most modern clinical centre. The aim is to improve healthcare across the country and make it more accessible to the majority of the population. Besides Niš, the project also comprises the design, construction, renovation and equipment of clinical centres in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Kragujevac.
The EU bank makes its first Albania urban development loan to the country’s capital with its Economic Resilience Initiative. Besides cleaning up the river, the project will reorganise streets and urban infrastructure near both banks. The financing includes an EUR 8 million EIB loan, EUR 2.4 million from donors and a technical assistance grant worth EUR 500 000.
"When people can look forward to a dignified and peaceful life in their own countries and are protected from conflicts and natural disasters, they have every incentive to build their future where they really feel at home."
Werner Hoyer, EIB President.
At a special conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on 21 June 2017, EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco laid out the actions that the EU bank is taking to help manage migration to Europe and to tackle its root causes in Europe’s neighbourhood and beyond.
At the CEDRE conference organised in Paris, EIB President Werner Hoyer announced that Lebanon would receive up to EUR 800 million of support to public investments by 2020.
** The EIB will start operating in Libya once it has signed a Framework Agreement with the country – currently under preparation. Following EU sanctions in November 2011, the EIB suspended all loan disbursements and technical advisory contracts for projects in Syria.