The day after the 4th Summit of the Western Balkan Leaders in Trieste, Serbia found out that it would get over 2 billion EUR in loans for road and railway infrastructure, reconstruction of four clinical centres, SMEs, children-related projects, migrants etc.
Compared to other countries in the region, Serbia got the highest amount of loan funds – the head of the Western Balkan office at the European Investment Bank, Dubravka Negre says. EIB has been operating in Serbia since 2001, and is one of the biggest investors here with the invested 4.5 billion EUR.
Even the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn says that the EU is counting on Serbia and that it wants to invest over a billion euros in the country over the course of next year.
The first loan to be approved is the 50 million EUR one, granted by the European Investment Bank, that will be spent on renovating clinical centres in Serbia. Finance Minister, Dusan Vujovic signed yesterday the last out of a total of three financial agreement with the European Investment Bank, finalizing the financial plan for the reconstruction of the four clinical centres – in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac. The total value of this project is 400 million EUR.
In Trieste, Transport Minister, Zorana Mihajlovic talked about the implementation of a set of projects worth 300 million EUR. The project documents are ready, and as soon as the loan is approved by the Serbian National Parliament, the first project will begun to be implemented – construction of the Nis – Polocnik segment on the Nis-Merdare-Pristina motorway, worth 230 million EUR. The money for this will come from the grants from the Western Balkan Investment Framework, EIB and the Serbian budget.
Also in Trieste, the Western Balkan leaders and the high EU officials signed an agreement on the Western Balkans Enterprise and Innovation Facility with the budget of 48 million EUR. These are new funds, on top of the existing 100 million EUR available for enterprise support in the region.
There are many indirect benefits of the Summit too. By signing the Western Balkan Transport Community Agreement, all regional countries will become a single transport market which will cut down on waiting time at border crossings. Thanks to this agreement, Serbia will become an even bigger transit zone, and Belgrade was chosen as headquarters for the Transport Community Secretariat.
This post is also available in: Italiano