Since 1958, the European Investment Bank (EIB) provided loans and expert advice for more than 14.000 projects in over 160 countries. Our shareholders are the 27 EU Member States and we invest in Europe’s future by working hand in hand with the European Commission and many other institutions.
The EIB Group, made up by the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF) has a long tradition in supporting the development of the private sector with a wide range of intermediated products, including loans, guarantees and securitisation, equity and quasi-equity financing. The EIB loans and EIF guarantees, provided through partner commercial banks*, can help to finance both fixed assets and working capital. Our credit lines and guarantees include support for micro and start-up companies as well, that usually face difficulties in accessing finance**.
By providing affordable financing, we stimulate expansion plans, employment and business continuity, especially in times of crisis. In 2020, we have unlocked €175 million for the small companies in Serbia to help them maintain liquidity, jobs and business continuity amid the economic fallout.
In the Western Balkan region, the EIB allocated €5 billion to date for private sector development, which helped sustained over 500,000 jobs. Other than that, we have supported hospitals and healthcare infrastructure, as well as the development of vaccines and medications.
Faster and safer transportation
In Serbia, we have allocated €2.3 billion to the construction and rehabilitation of transportation networks, including roads railway and waterway routes. Also, we are supporting new projects for wastewater, energy and digital infrastructure that are also essential for improved business conditions.
“With the renovation of 20 hospitals and works on the Clinical Centres in Niš, Belgrade and Vojvodina, the EIB helped drastically increase the level of medical care to millions of patients in Serbia”
Since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, digitalisation emerged as one of the key factors in the sustainability of businesses and a driving force for innovation. The EIF signed the first agreement under the COSME digitalisation guarantee to offer a more flexible credit line to Serbian companies for upgrading their digital capacities.
Transition to a greener economy
In our Climate Bank Roadmap launched in 2020, we have committed to align all our operations to the Paris Agreement goals to reduce CO2 emissions across all sectors.
Serbia and the whole region will also need to make this massive leap towards sustainable, efficient and diverse energy resources. In order to stay competitive on a global scale, the private sector is also required to contribute to preserving natural resources and reducing the impact on the climate and environment. From 2016 to 2020, the EIB allocated €2.7 billion to co-finance circular economy projects in a variety of sectors.
Innovation – key determinant for competitiveness
To support the creation of innovation infrastructure in Serbia, the EIB invested €200 million in the R&D sector. These funds helped to renovate scientific laboratories and the building of Centres of Excellence in Novi Sad, Belgrade and Niš. In these innovation hubs, start-ups are working on new, multidisciplinary solutions in the areas of IT, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and biomedicine.
I am delighted that the EIB in 2020 almost doubled its investment volume in one of the most challenging year in recent history. However, we will not stop here, but continue to provide our full support to help the region overcome the COVID-19 crisis, advance with EU integration and accelerate the much needed economic transformation towards a green and digital market.
*To find EIB partner commercial banks, please go to: Financial intermediaries (eib.org)