- €171 million of EU financing (EIB loans and EU grants) signed for strategic investments during the European Union-Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels underlines the EU commitment to sustainable and resilient socioeconomic growth in the region.
- As the EU bank, the EIB fully supports the Eastern Partnership’s agenda for recovery, resilience and reforms underpinned by the EU Economic and Investment Plan.
- The EIB has provided €11 billion of financing to the Eastern Partnership countries since the establishment of the partnership in 2009.
At the European Union-Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, EIB President Hoyer joined EU and Eastern Partnership leaders in pledging support for economic recovery and sustainable investment in the Eastern Neighbourhood. In the margins of the summit, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed some of the first investments under the EU Economic and Investment Plan in the region: a total of €171 million, combining EIB loans and EU grants for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
These investments in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will boost digitalisation, energy efficiency and climate action, as well as education. They will also unlock new sources of financing for the faster recovery of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the coronavirus pandemic. The Bank also highlighted its intention to provide finance and expertise for strategic investments in Armenia and Azerbaijan following its recent joint mission to these two countries alongside the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
All of the EIB’s activities are designed to support the EU Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) for the Eastern Partnership presented by Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi in July 2021. The Economic and Investment Plan offers €2.3 billion of EU grants to Eastern Partnership countries, with the potential to mobilise up to €17 billion in public and private investments for the economies of the region.
EIB President Werner Hoyer said: “The investments that we have just finalised with our partners in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine reinforce the European Union’s support for the Eastern Partnership countries as well as Team Europe’s commitment to ensuring the sustainable and resilient socioeconomic development of our partner countries. Team Europe and Eastern Partnership countries share the same vision of a safe, prosperous, green and sustainable future for our children, a future that offers jobs, security and a clean environment to all. The EIB is very proud to be able to support this shared vision with our investments in key economic sectors such as digitalisation, education, climate action and SMEs. We look forward to the opportunity to further strengthen ties between the European Union and the Eastern Partnership and reinforce EIB’s role as one of the biggest multilateral investors in Eastern Partnership countries. We want to remain a reliable source of financial and technical support for the Eastern Partnership and advance the climate action agenda in the region.”
In Eastern Partnership countries — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine — the EIB offers accessible, long-term financing supported by guarantees from the European Union, as well as technical advice for the preparation of bankable projects. It complements its loan financing by attracting grants from the European Union.
EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwinska, who is in charge of operations in the Eastern Partnership countries, said: “As a key stakeholder in the Eastern Partnership, the EIB continues to support the social and economic growth of EU partner countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood, reinforcing pan-European solidarity. Our most recent investments are dedicated to creating the conditions needed for better digital connectivity in Georgia, greater energy efficiency and a more sustainable future in Moldova, as well as faster COVID-19 recovery, refurbishment of about one thousand of individual schools and hospitals and modernisation of Vocational Education and Training infrastructure in Ukraine. This package of €171 million of investments is just the start of our support for the region under the EU Economic and Investment Plan and we look forward to cooperating with all the stakeholders in the Eastern Partnership to realise our ambitious objectives that we have set for the future.”
Improved energy efficiency and road connectivity for Moldova
In the Republic of Moldova, the EIB is leading an ambitious EU initiative to increase the energy efficiency of public buildings in the country, allowing for a 47% reduction in energy consumption and annual savings of 136 GWh of power. Renovations and upgrades financed by a €30 million loan from the EU bank will also boost local and regional economic activity, increase employment in the construction industry and in turn accelerate the post-COVID-19 recovery of the Moldovan economy. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is co-financing this project, which also benefits from EU grants.
The EIB also signed a Letter of Intent with the Government of the Republic of Moldova with a view to making €150 million available to support the rehabilitation and upgrade of priority Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) road sections and the implementation of road safety measures on selected road segments.
Since the start of pandemic in 2020, the EIB has provided €20 million in support of the accelerated recovery of Moldovan SMEs from the coronavirus pandemic.
Functional education for modern jobs, SME support and improved energy efficiency of public buildings in Ukraine
In Ukraine, the EU bank will invest €58 million to strengthen the country’s vocational education system and ensure efficient training for young people in professional skills required by local employers.
An additional €20 million to be made available in local currency will be provided to the State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine (Ukreximbank) in order to enhance access to affordable financing for local SMEs and accelerate their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
A €5,2 million grant from the EU Neighbourhood Investment Platform signed at the European Union-Eastern Partnership Summit will facilitate the preparation and implementation of an €300 million EIB framework loan aimed at increasing energy efficiency in about 1000 public buildings, including hospitals, schools, cultural centres and kindergartens.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the EIB has supported the European Union-Ukraine partnership by investing close to €1.39 billion for urban development, SME credit lines, transport, digitalisation, innovation, energy and the reconstruction of infrastructure in areas affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Fast internet for better quality of life and new business opportunities in rural Georgia
In Georgia, the EIB will invest €34 million to deliver high-speed internet connections to some 500 000 people living in rural and remote areas. The loan will finance the installation of some 5 000 km of optic fibre cables and provide open access internet infrastructure for Georgia’s telecom operators.
The investment will improve quality of life, create new business opportunities and increase Georgia’s resilience to crisis.
EIB financing supports climate action, COVID-19 recovery, transport and connectivity, and digitalisation
Since 2020, the European Investment Bank has approved €1.52 billion in loans for the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood, namely Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, supporting EU priorities and key initiatives.
This included investments in faster job creation and retention through support for the COVID-19 recovery of SMEs, climate action, digitalisation and fast internet, and transport and connectivity projects across the region.
From 2014 to date, the EU bank has invested €8.5 billion across all key economic sectors in partner countries of the EU Eastern Neighbourhood, including the Republic of Belarus, where the EIB ceased all of its activities to back EU sanctions against the regime in Minsk.
EIB activities in the Eastern Neighbourhood included investments and technical assistance in project preparation for the renovation of hospitals and procurement of vital COVID-19 medical equipment, fast internet networks and the construction of major road corridors in Georgia. The EIB also invested in the renovation of municipal social infrastructure, innovation centres, and the digitalisation of postal services in Ukraine, as well as the creation of credit lines for Moldovan SMEs to accelerate their recovery from COVID-19.
EU Economic and Investment Plan (EIP) On 2 July, 2021, the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy outlined a proposal on how to take forward priorities for cooperation with our Eastern partners in the years to come. This agenda is based on the five long-term objectives, with resilience at its core, as defined for the future of the Eastern Partnership in March 2020. It will be underpinned by a €2.3 billion Economic and Investment plan in grants, blending and guarantees, with a potential to mobilise up to €17 billion in public and private investments.