The European Investment Bank is lending EUR 35 million for the rehabilitation and upgrading of a 70-km section of road from Fier to Tepelene, a key element of Albania's north-south axis. The project is co-financed by the EBRD with a similar loan of EUR 35 million and is supported by technical assistance grants from the EU.

The Albanian authorities have prepared the project in close cooperation with the EU, receiving preparation assistance through the CARDS program, alongside the EBRD and EIB. The EU will provide additional technical assistance to support institutional strengthening and supervision of works.

The project will contribute to plans to link Albania with Montenegro (north) and with Greece (south). It is also expected to have a positive impact on the economic development of Southern Albania. A beneficial social impact will come from enhanced road safety and reduced travel time, as well as from the ease of access to business and leisure opportunities the project will provide. Reduced vehicle operating costs will also prove economically advantageous.

The project foresees a new 37 km stretch of single carriageway road in addition to the rehabilitation of the existing road, with alignment improvements, for the remaining 33 km between Dames and Tepelene. Temporary employment during the construction phase is estimated at 3400 person-years. Works are expected to be completed in 2009.

In the past five years the EIB has provided loans totaling EUR 148 million to Albania for energy, transport (e.g. a section of the Durres-Tirana highway), water and small-sized investment.

The EIB was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to provide loan finance for capital investment furthering European Union policy objectives, in particular regional development, Trans-European Networks of transport, telecommunications and energy, research, development and innovation, environment improvement and protection, health and education. Outside the Union, the EIB contributes to the European development co-operation policy in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in the various agreements linking the Union to some 130 countries in Central, South and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean region, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Asia and Latin America.