European Investment Bank (EIB) will continue investing in the social and the economic development of the Republic of North Macedonia by supporting projects for faster economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly focusing on small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as projects within the Green Agenda for investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and digitalization as part of the program under the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, was the joint conclusion at the meeting Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, and Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, had with EIB President, Werner Hoyer, and EIB Vice President, Lilyana Pavlova.
EIB stands ready to expand its successful cooperation with the Government of North Macedonia and to further contribute to meeting the European standards on competitiveness of the Macedonian economy, supporting major infrastructure projects and transition towards greener and more sustainable economic model. To date, EIB has invested close to EUR 970 million in 29 projects in North Macedonia, supporting the key sectors of the economy – infrastructure, energy, transport and SMEs.
“Government of North Macedonia has recently endorsed the Green Scenario for structural development of transport, energy, environment and climate changes sectors. We have an ambitious agenda to be underpinned with substantial investments, as well as contribution to the future not only of North Macedonia, but also of Europe as a whole. We are confident that the European Investment Bank can be our key partner in this endeavour and I am looking forward to close and successful cooperation in the years to come”, Prime Minister Zaev stated at the meeting with EIB top management.
During the working meeting of the Government Delegation with EIB, it was pointed out that established partnership will continue in the coming period as well, by supporting the implementation of two major projects in North Macedonia, which the country applied for at the last call for investment grants within the Western Balkans Investment Framework – Wastewater Treatment Plant in Skopje and Railway Corridor VIII Project, phase 3 – east wing towards Bulgaria.
“I have expressed EIB President Hoyer out interest in enhanced cooperation in terms of implementation of our agenda presented through the Single Project Pipeline, therefore inviting EIB to open its representative office in North Macedonia. All in all, it has been an excellent start of the working visit to Luxembourg, considering the encouragement given by EIB top management for both our plans in the post-COVID period and our plan to restart the economy and restore the development trends the EIB has recognized and will support in future as well”, Prime Minister Zaev stated.
EIB President, Werner Hoyer, said that the Bank’s priority is to support North Macedonia to recover from COVID-19 pandemic sooner rather later and to advance on its road to EU.
“We are ready to support country’s transition towards greener, more inclusive and more sustainable economy with funding and technical advice. Prime Minister Zaev and I share a European vision and commitment to an economically strong North Macedonia and Western Balkans region and we would like to see North Macedonia benefit as much as possible from the opportunities unlocked by the Economic and Investment Plan of the European Commission. As the EU’s climate bank, EIB welcomes Prime Minister Zaev’s strong commitment to supporting the rollout of the Green Agenda and I am pleased to see pipeline of green investments for North Macedonia going forward”, EIB President Hoyer underlined.
EIB Vice President in charge of North Macedonia, Lilyana Pavlova, added that, in the coming period, the Bank will focus on helping the country embrace the opportunities set out in the Economic and Investment Plan for fast COVID-19 recovery, creation of a stronger regional market and better investment climate.
Ambassador David Geer, as Head of EU Delegation, said that the European Union and the Government of North Macedonia are building partnership that strives for more and are trying to develop the best solutions to take forward the Green Agenda, promote connectivity and boost trade within the WB6 Common Regional Market, with the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan being the key in this context.
As part of the overall EU efforts under Team Europe to mitigate the economic fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EIB invested EUR 20 million as support for the Macedonian SMEs in 2020, enabling them to access new sources of financing to overcome liquidity constraints and preserve jobs during the pandemic.
At the meeting between the Government Delegation and EIB in Luxembourg, it was announced that the Bank is ready to unlock significant financial resources for the Macedonian SMEs in 2021.