• Better coverage, quality and efficiency in the water sector will benefit an estimated 700 000 people and should improve climate change resilience for around 40% of country’s population.
  • This is the EIB’s third environmental operation in North Macedonia.
  • As one of the largest financiers of water projects, the EIB has provided close to €700 million for the water sector in the Western Balkans to date.

European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova has visited North Macedonia to reaffirm the Bank’s longstanding commitment to supporting the country’s sustainable growth, through investments in vital infrastructure and close cooperation with local partners. On this occasion, the Bank signed an investment of €50 million to construct and refurbish water supply, wastewater and flood protection infrastructure, available to the country’s 80 municipalities. This funding will help improve the coverage, quality and climate resilience of water and sanitation services, while protecting public health and the environment. The project will benefit some 700 000 people, create new economic opportunities and strengthen climate change resilience for around 40% of country’s population.

Selected municipalities will be able to utilise the funds to install and modernise water and wastewater infrastructure, distribution and collection networks, as well as emergency flood protection measures. North Macedonia’s Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning will implement the municipal water investment programme with technical support from the EIB equivalent to €1.2 million. This action forms part of the Economic Resilience Initiative, aimed at mobilising additional financing to support growth, vital infrastructure and social cohesion in the Western Balkans.

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, who is responsible for operations in North Macedonia, explained: “This is a strategic investment in the country that benefits from Team Europe support. It is a priority for providing better living conditions and on the path to EU accession and alignment with EU standards. It will help close a significant investment gap in the water sector and provide our local partners with long-term financing to meet their needs and further their sustainability goals. By improving environmental and living conditions in the country, the funds will create substantial social and economic benefits and make water infrastructure more resilient to climate change — an important goal for the EIB as the EU climate bank.”

“Under the investment agreement, which demonstrates the Bank’s continuous support for the country, the North Macedonian government will grant access to €50 million in direct financial support for the Skopje area and other municipalities, in the form of donations to implement utilities infrastructure projects. This comes under the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia’s policy for balanced regional development, and should stimulate growth in the municipalities through investments in such infrastructure,” remarked Finance Minister Fatmir Besimi. He went on to highlight that the funding will also improve living conditions, especially in rural areas, and help to meet EU standards.

“The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning is prepared to realise the projects the municipalities have identified as priorities. The municipalities, in turn, are expected to show readiness and sophistication in producing the project documentation needed to efficiently deploy and utilise the funds. Quick implementation will open up new investment opportunities,” emphasised Minister of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia Naser Nuredini.

The investment is backed by the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), part of the European Union’s financial framework for partner countries to support public and private infrastructure.

“This new investment will help North Macedonia ensure the sustainable management of its water resources, notably through the development and improvement of important environmental infrastructure such as wastewater collection and treatment, the supply of drinking water and the operation of the sewerage network. This investment draws on additional financing, thanks to a Team Europe approach, over and above that already provided for infrastructure support through the European Union’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. Such investments should bring practical benefits to local people as a result of a greener, safer and healthier use of water resources in the country,” said EU Ambassador to North Macedonia David Geer.

As one of the world’s largest international financiers of water projects, the EIB has unlocked close to €700 million in water sector funding for the Western Balkans to date. In the last ten years alone, the EIB has provided €11 billion in long-term water investment worldwide.

Background information

About the EIB:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

About EIB Global:

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.  EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world



About the EIB in North Macedonia:

The EIB has been active in the territory of North Macedonia since its establishment in 1991, providing finance to support key infrastructure projects, local authorities and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EIB has provided €1.1 billion of financing to SMEs and transport, energy and utility infrastructure projects.

About the EIB in the Balkans:

The EIB is one of the leading international financiers in the Western Balkans.

About the EIB’s climate action:

The European Investment Bank is active in around 160 countries and is the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects. The EIB Group has recently adopted its Climate Bank Roadmap to deliver on its ambitious agenda to support €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainability investments in the decade to 2030 and to deliver more than 50% of EIB finance for climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025. Also as part of the Roadmap, all new EIB Group operations will be aligned with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement from the start of 2021.