The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long term financing institution, hosts on 6-7 February 2003 in Luxembourg a high level meeting organized by the Infrastructure Steering Group (ISG). ISG co-ordinates infrastructure investments in South Eastern Europe on behalf of the International Institutions (European Commission, Stability Pact, World Bank, EIB, EBRD and Council of Europe Bank).
The meeting's purpose is to discuss with representatives of the beneficiary countries of the region the Regional Balkans Infrastructure Study-Transport (REBIS-Transport) aiming at establishing investment planning in the transport sector in South Eastern Europe for a regional core transport network. The REBIS studies currently under preparation are financed by the European Commission under the CARDS Programme, and are expected to facilitate the planning and implementation of projects of regional importance in the 5 countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, as well as Serbia and Montenegro).
The meeting is being attended by decision makers at ministerial level from five Western Balkan countries, and also includes representatives from Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo (UNMIK). It highlights the need for additional project preparation facilities, such as grant funds to launch project feasibility, design and implementation studies. It shows that countries which were formerly in conflict, and which are core European countries, can work together constructively, under the auspices of the International Financial Institutions, to generate investments and at the same time pursue the reform agenda which will one day enable the transport sector to reach European standards.
In South Eastern Europe, transport infrastructure is an important factor for development and integration of the region internally, as well as with the EU and the accession countries.