At the Sofia summit, the Republic of Serbia and the EIB signed a Memorandum of Understanding stipulating 1 billion euros in investments in Serbia. EIB President Werner Hoyer, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and President of EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov attended the signing ceremony.
“This confirms the EIB Group’s support for key connectivity infrastructure, such as the Highway of Peace connecting Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, the digitalisation of Serbian schools, local and rural development, energy safety and urban transport”, the Bank says.
In addition, the European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the EIB Group) signed guarantee agreements for a total amount of EUR 180 million with Crédit Agricole Bank Serbia (CAS) and UniCredit Bank Serbia to support Serbian SMEs. The CAS agreement, providing EUR 50 million to innovative SMEs and mid-caps, was signed under the European Commission’s InnovFin initiative, backed by the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
Under this agreement, CAS will be incentivised to provide EUR 50 million of loans to 120 innovative SMEs and small mid-caps on more favourable terms. The second transaction, which brings an additional EUR 130 million of loans to 3,500 SMEs, is an increase of the existing COSME LGF agreement with UniCredit Bank Serbia.
Since 2007, the EIB has signed EUR 7.5 billion of loans for projects in the Western Balkans. So far this year, the EIB has signed loans worth more than half a billion euros for the region.
“In these times of rising economic and social challenges, the EIB will intensify its investment and financing in the Western Balkans through the Economic Resilience Initiative and other programmes,” EIB President, Werner Hoyer added.
“The EIB Group will also continue to address these issues by financing projects on the Connectivity Agenda. Transport infrastructure is key to economic growth and competitiveness, because it enables people and goods to move more freely. Better mobility achieves social cohesion, economic growth and employment”, he concluded.
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