EIB Prioritizes Green and Digital Transition in Western Balkans at Berlin Summit

EIB Prioritizes Green and Digital Transition in Western Balkans at Berlin Summit

(IN BRIEF) The European Investment Bank (EIB) reaffirms its commitment to supporting sustainable development in the Western Balkans. During the Berlin Process Leaders’ Summit in Tirana, EIB Vice-President Czerwińska emphasized the bank’s dedication to enhancing connectivity, promoting green and digital transitions, and strengthening education and healthcare systems in the region. As a key contributor to the EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, EIB Global will focus on the Just Transition Initiative to facilitate the region’s transition to cleaner energy sources. EIB Global is actively engaged in sustainable investments, including clean and renewable energy projects in the public sector and SMEs, with commitments of €700 million in 2023. These efforts aim to foster sustainable growth and improve the investment climate. The bank also supports infrastructure modernization projects to enhance regional connectivity and economic relations. EIB has been a longstanding partner to the Western Balkans, investing nearly €11 billion since 2009 in vital infrastructure, job creation, innovation, and SME development.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 16-Oct-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union, announces that its Vice-President Czerwińska reaffirmed the bank’s dedication to fostering greater connectivity, promoting the green and digital transition, and strengthening education and healthcare systems during the Berlin Process Leaders’ Summit held in Tirana. As a significant contributor to the EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, EIB Global is poised to support the new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans by intensifying efforts under the Just Transition Initiative, facilitating the region’s transition to cleaner energy sources.

EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska stated, “We are as committed as ever to supporting the enlargement process. This support contributes to greater connectivity and a smoother green transition, benefiting fully from the digital agenda and strengthening education and health systems. Since 2009, the EIB has provided nearly €11 billion in public and private sector investment finance in the Western Balkans. We have financed trans-European energy networks and provided inclusive finance for small and medium businesses (SMEs) — investments that link the region physically and economically with the European Union and boost convergence.”

In close collaboration with the European Commission and partners within the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), EIB Global is actively pursuing sustainable investments, including the implementation of clean and renewable energy projects in the public sector and among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The bank has already committed to investments totaling €700 million in 2023, including a €100 million credit line aimed at financing energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives by SMEs in North Macedonia. These projects underscore the bank’s unwavering commitment to fostering sustainable growth and enhancing the investment climate in the region.

“We all agree on the need for better governance, simpler regulations, leveraging the digital transition, enhancing competitiveness by boosting trade and increasing the role of the private sector, and faster deployment of renewable energy. We fully recognise that these recommendations are not easy to implement, but we believe that collectively — including through the Berlin Process — we can use the accession process to boost convergence and expedite the region’s progress to EU membership,” Vice-President Czerwińska added.

Elevating regional connectivity and economic relations remains a crucial element of the convergence process. In 2023, EIB Global allocated €120 million in top-up loans for the modernization of Sarajevo’s urban transport system and a road rehabilitation project in Serbia, aimed at enhancing transportation safety and resilience while bolstering economic growth.

Through EIB Global, the branch responsible for activities outside the European Union, the EIB plans to continue its support for the modernization of vital sustainable connectivity infrastructure across the region. This includes expanding the railway network in Albania towards Montenegro, advancing Corridor VIII in North Macedonia, developing sections of the Corridor X railway in Serbia, and upgrading road Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a longstanding partner to the Western Balkans, the EIB has invested nearly €11 billion since 2009 to develop critical infrastructure, foster job creation, drive innovation, and support SMEs in the region.

Background information

About the EIB and EIB Global

The EIB is the long-term financing institution of the European Union, owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment to pursue EU policy goals, supporting projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and SMEs. EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm devoted to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance, and a key partner of Global Gateway. We aim to support €100 billion of investment by the end of 2027 — around one-third of the overall target of this EU initiative. Within Team Europe, EIB Global fosters strong, focused partnerships alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the EIB Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices around the world.

About the EIB in the Western Balkans

The EIB is one of the leading international financiers in the Western Balkans. Since 2009, the Bank has financed projects in the region totalling close to €11 billion. Visit the Bank’s publications page for detailed information on its activities in the Western Balkans.

About the Berlin Process Summit

The Berlin process was set up in 2014 as a platform for high-level cooperation between high official representatives of the Western Balkan Six (WB6) and their peers in Berlin Process host countries. The Process also involves the EU institutions, international financial institutions and the region’s civil society, youth and businesses.  The Berlin Process was initiated to utilize the potential of increased regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. The idea was to foster specific projects in order to increase connectivity in the region, as well as good neighbourly relations and interpersonal relationships, while subsequently supporting the EU integration.

Media contacts:

Gordana Kovacevic

Press Office
+352 4379 – 21000

SOURCE: European Investment Bank


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