>@Marco Santarelli/EIB

A top-level European Investment Bank (EIB) Group delegation, led by EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco, is in Podgorica today for talks with Montenegrin Government representatives. The discussions are intended to further strengthen and broaden the scope of the EIB Group financing in Montenegro.

Vice-President Scannapieco met with Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, Minister of Finance Darko Radunovic, the Montenegro Railways Director, Milan Čolaković and Mr Zoran Vukčević, CEO of the Investment and Development Fund (IDF). On the occasion of the visit, Vice-President Scannapieco signed two loans and a grant agreement totalling EUR 90 million.

Vice-President Scannapieco commented on the very good cooperation between Montenegro and the EIB that has led to many projects financed by the bank of the European Union in the roads, railways, water and sanitation, electricity and SME sectors. “We are particularly proud today – he stated – as we have signed loans to projects which will contribute to the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative, launched at the request of the European Council in June 2016 as a response to the challenges of the migration crisis in the Western Balkans and the Southern Neighbourhood. This involves developing critical infrastructure for the resident population as well as supporting private sector development by providing access to finance for SMEs. On the latter subject, the EIB was the first external lender to IDF and we are proud of our long-standing cooperation”.

In detail, regarding the two loans and the grant agreement signed:

  • A EUR 20 million loan to Zeljeznicka Infrastruktura, the public railway infrastructure manager of Montenegro represented by the Director, Mr Milan Čolaković. The project is located on the core Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and is aimed at the rehabilitation of railway infrastructure along the main North-South trunk line crossing the country. By facilitating rail transport within the Western Balkans and towards the EU, the project will contribute to the competitiveness of the country's economy.
  • Still for the railways project, a EUR 20 million Western Balkan Investment Facility (WBIF) investment grant agreement to co-finance the EIB loan signed today, signed with the Minister of Finance, Mr Darko Radunović. This is one of the first projects in the Western Balkans to benefit from such a connectivity grant.
  • A EUR 50 million loan to the IDF, the development bank of Montenegro, represented by its CEO, Mr Zoran Vukčević. The EIB funding will allow IDF to increase the availability of funding on advantageous financial terms for SMEs, as a key driver of economic and social progress in Montenegro. Also, it is expected to improve industrial competitiveness, contribute to environmental protection and the rational use of energy, and improve infrastructure of local and regional interest.

Since 2010, the bank of the European Union has financed nearly 30 projects in Montenegro, for a total amount of over EUR 300m, making a significant contribution to job creation and infrastructure modernisation.