The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, will shortly be ready to fund projects in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The EIB signs with the Yugoslav State framework Agreements setting the legal framework for allowing the progressive settlement of earlier obligations of Yugoslavia towards the EIB for projects in its territory. These obligations total some EUR 225 million (1). The Agreements have been signed in Belgrade between Prof. M. Labus, Deputy Prime-Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Mr E. Nowotny, EIB Vice-President.
Working in close cooperation with the Yugoslav Authorities since October 2000, the EIB is considering loan finance up to EUR 150-200 million for an investment project in the transport sector (including roads, railways, waterways as well as air navigation and safety), which could be finalised once the current EIB mandate for Central and Eastern Europe will be extended to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, subject to the necessary green light from the European Union.
The EIB is financing projects in the Balkans under its current mandate for Central and Eastern Europe agreed by the EU Council of Ministers for 2000/2007, foreseeing EIB lending of up to EUR 8.7 billion in the ten Accession Countries and in four other Countries of South Eastern Europe, which do not have candidate status: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the FYROM.
The EIB has followed with great attention the democratic changes of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Immediately after the lifting of the economic sanctions and the resumption of the emergency assistance from the European Union, the EIB made preliminary assessment of the most urgent needs in the basic transport infrastructures both in Serbia and Montenegro and identified several investment projects (for an estimated cost of about EUR 450 m) that could start immediately.
The EIB focuses its lending activity in South-Eastern Europe on infrastructure projects, given its long and successful past experience there since 1977. EIB financing in the former Yugoslavia over the period 1977-1990 totalled EUR 760 million. Of this, EUR 668 million benefited mainly the Trans-Yugoslav highway and railway linking Slovenia, Croatia, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia and Macedonia as well as neighbouring countries: Austria, Italy and Greece. EUR 92 million went to projects for improving and developing the electricity network, including exchanges with Greece and Italy through power interconnections.
(1) 1 EUR = 0.971400 USD, 0.613400 GBP.