The European Investment Bank (EIB) launched the first loan of €250 million for supporting Serbia's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and priority projects in the country.
This is the first in a series of loans valued at €1.4 billion the EIB plans for Serbia this year, aiming to support the recovery of Serbian economy and pave the way towards European integration.
At the same time, the EIB and the Republic of Serbia signed a new Framework Agreement aimed at laying down the EIB activity in Serbia.
The €250 billion loan will be disbursed via the National Bank of Serbia and will be on-lent by Serbian commercial banks. The amounts made available by the EIB will help to fund and support projects by SMEs and local authorities as well as investments in the following sectors such as industry, infrastructure, energy, environmental protection, knowledge economy, health, education and services.
“The EIB has been active in Serbia for many years, however, with the agreements signed today, cooperation between the Bank of European integration and the Serbian government has taken a huge step forward”, said EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco.
“Our commitment in this country throughout 2009 and in the years to come will fund investments and the development of businesses and local authorities as well as the completion of key infrastructure that will connect Serbia with the rest of Europe, Dario said.
The EIB's support will help Serbia to combat the recession , make a swifter recovery and draw closer ties with the European Union.
Overall, the EIB will launch €1.4 billion to support all sectors of Serbia's economy for the year 2009-2010.
The EIB has been active in the Western Balkans for many years since 1974 and it has financed projects totaling over €3.5 billion in region's various countries.
Serbia has therefore been the main beneficiary of EIB funding since 2001 with the total financing funds extended to €1.38 billion including the €250 million loan signed today.