The European Investment Bank (EIB) has today extended to the Republic of Albania a loan to finance the construction of the motorway by-pass around Fier, one of the country’s main cities. With a total amount of EUR 35 million this is one of largest financing operations ever signed by the EIB in Albania. On the occasion of the signing ceremony in Tirana, the bank of the European Union was represented by Dario Scannapieco, Vice-President responsible for operations in Italy, Malta and the Western Balkans, and the Albanian Government by the Prime Minister, Sali Berisha.

The project concerns the construction of 22 kilometres of a dual two-lane motorway on a new alignment around the town of Fier, situated near the coast in central Albania. This is the last remaining section to be improved on the main north-south axis between the capital Tirana, Durrës (the second largest city) and Greece, for which the EIB has already financed the complementary Levan-Vlore and Fier-Tepelene sections. The purpose is to improve travel times and safety, particularly for through traffic, as well as to alleviate congestion and local environmental nuisances in Fier.

This motorway connects Albania to its European Union neighbour, Greece, and is situated on Pan-European Corridor VIII, the multimodal axis for south-east Europe (Bari/Brindisi – Durrës/Vlorë – Tirana – Skopje – Sofia – Burgas/Varna). The EBRD will also co-finance this investment.

With estimated job creation during the three year construction period of 1 550 new employees per year, the Fier by-pass will also have important social impacts for the labour market.

Since 2000 the EIB has signed over EUR 300 million worth of loans in support of the Albanian economy, particularly contributing to the construction of the national road network.