The European Investment Bank (EIB) invested 1.2 billion euros in the Western Balkans in the previous year, which is 365 million euros more than in 2022, according to representatives of the EIB at the annual conference.
The funds were primarily allocated to projects related to infrastructure, renewable energy, education, health, environmental protection, and other areas that would facilitate the Western Balkan countries’ accession to the European Union.
More than half of the funds (693 million euros) are allocated to railway traffic in Serbia on the Belgrade – Niš route and in North Macedonia on the track from Kriva Palanka to the Bulgarian border.
As Mateo Rivelini, Head of the Western Balkans and Turkey Department, suggests, the sectors for which funds will be allocated this year remain unchanged, with the greatest focus on green energy and railway development.
We are becoming a selected partner to support the development of railways. In the context of the connectivity agenda and bringing this region closer to the European Union, EIB plans to invest in Serbia’s infrastructure this year,” explains Rivelini.
As highlighted by Kirijakos Kakuris, Vice President of EIB, the bank is seeking to finance the improvement of urban transport in Sarajevo, as well as transportation in our country.
Additionally, it is worth noting that 275 million euros have been allocated for small and medium-sized enterprises.
In addition to financing, the bank has provided technical advisory support for the preparation and implementation of a water supply project in Tirana, as well as a credit line for climate projects for small businesses in North Macedonia.
“As part of the JASPERS program funded by the EU, advisory support for the region will triple, with a budget of 20 million euros for the next six years,” announces Mateo Feraci from the EIB’s economic department.
Discussing the focus for 2024, EIB representatives state that, regarding sustainable transportation, emphasis will be placed on the modernization of railways in Albania and investments in Corridor 10 in Serbia. Additionally, the rehabilitation of the railway in Montenegro, especially the part connecting it with Serbia, has been announced.
In the annual report, it is highlighted that the gap between the supply and demand for loans in banks is decreasing. However, potential obstacles to the development of the region include global geopolitical tensions, particularly concerning the war in Ukraine.