The European Investment Bank (EIB) lends EUR 12.5 million to the Republic of Albania for supporting the first phase 2007-2010 of the Albania's National Education Strategy developed for the period 2004-2015.

EIB funds will finance an improvement of the quality of learning conditions for students; contribute to an increase of the enrolment in general secondary education, and better governance in the higher education sector. The support focuses on: strengthening leadership, management and governance in the education system and improving the quality of learning outcomes. The loan will help to develop and improve the existing education infrastructure, especially in secondary education as well as set the stage for higher education reform.

To implement the mentioned objectives the EIB is joining its forces with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the World Bank (WB). The Albanian Government and other bilateral donors will provide additional funds.

In late 1990s, the initial focus of the EIB activities in Albania was on the urgent reconstruction and rehabilitation of basic infrastructure. More recently, EIB activities in Albania have been centred on the upgrading of the infrastructure network, with emphasis on fostering regional integration and removing bottlenecks in the road, rail and energy sector. Finally, with the new loan aimed at supporting National Education Strategy, the EIB has diversified its activities into the education sector.

The task of the EIB, the European Union's financing institution, is to contribute to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States. Outside the Union, the EIB implements the financial components of agreements concluded under European development aid and cooperation policies.

EIB financing in Albania has exceeded EUR 230 million since 1995. Generally, in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), the financing operations of the EIB have exceeded EUR 1.8 billion. They contribute to facilitating the integration process with the European Union. In addition, EIB support helps to foster the European perspective that has been instrumental in providing incentive for political and economic reform and encouraging social reconciliation in the region. Success of this process is in the vital interest of both the countries concerned and the European Union as a whole.