European Investment Bank (EIB) to support Western Balkans' green transition

11 November 2020
Photo: European Union External Action

BELGRADE (Serbia), November 11 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed to provide financial and technical support for investments that enable a green transition in the Western Balkans, it said.

The bank will support the gradual introduction of a renewable, diverse and sustainable energy supply for the Western Balkans aiming for a carbon-neutral region in the long term, in line with the European Commission's Green Deal and action to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday following the Berlin Process summit held online in Bulgarian capital Sofia.

The lender and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will deploy new financial instruments to support private sector development under the new Western Balkans Guarantee Facility, as the participants at the summit declared their readiness to work on the Green Agenda and a common regional market and to support implementation of the European Commission's Economic and Investment Plan, the EIB said.

"As the EU climate bank with ambitious goals for advancing climate action, we are delighted to see the strong political commitment from all the Western Balkans leaders here today to roll out the Green Agenda. The EIB stands ready to support you technically and financially in this challenging but vital task. The Regional Common Market initiative you have announced is a good example of how the region can expedite its reform agenda to improve the economic environment," EIB president Werner Hoyer said at the summit.

The EIB will also prioritise investments in the digital transformation of the Western Balkans, including the introduction of smart, digital-based technologies to encourage sustainable and inclusive growth of both economic and human resources in the region, the lender said.

"The European Commission will work closely with the international financial institutions like the EIB to turn the Economic and Investment Plan into concrete projects, starting with the flagship priorities. The Plan is a solid foundation on which we can build our common goal of making the Western Balkans region more stable, more prosperous and accelerate its European path. It can change the economic landscape of the region in 4 to 5 years," the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, noted.

As part of its 1.7 billion euro ($2.0 billion) financial package for the region adopted in May in response to the pandemic, the EIB has already mobilised over 1 billion euro to address the negative consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.

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