The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union said on Thursday that they are stepping up their support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Serbia with a new 10-million-euro credit line to Intesa Leasing to support SMEs during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
A press release said that the credit line is intended to help SMEs in Serbia to “invest in upgrading their equipment and production processes to EU standards, in particular for product quality and safety, environmental protection, as well as workers’ health and safety … at a crucial time, as access to finance is limited and local businesses are particularly vulnerable in the current circumstances”.
The loan is part of a wider EBRD/EU programme to boost SME competitiveness across the Western Balkans. In Serbia the program is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy.
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“We are strongly committed to supporting businesses and the economy in Serbia during these challenging times. Our new financial package will build more competitive companies, bring higher quality products to the local market and open up new cross-border trade opportunities for local SMEs. It is a result of our excellent cooperation with our institutional partners, such as the EU, and financial partners on the ground,” the press release quoted EBRD Director for the Western Balkans Zsuzsanna Hargitai as saying.
The EU Ambassador in Serbia, Sem Fabrizi said that access to sources of finance is often one of the main obstacles for development of small businesses, and the coronavirus pandemic made it even more difficult. “The EU and EBRD – as Team Europe – have decided to join forces to support the economic recovery providing tailor-made help to Serbia’s SMEs,” he added.
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