8th March 2022, Skopje – Ministry of Finance has successful cooperation with the European Investment Bank, which stands ready to continue supporting North Macedonia in financing projects of key importance for the country’s development in the field of energy, infrastructure connection, green transition, as well as boosting competitiveness of the domestic companies,
Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, pointed out at today’s meeting, hosting the EIB Delegation headed by Vice President Lilyana Pavlova.
During the meeting, the Minister highlighted Government’s commitment to energy transition and changing the energy structure in the country, thus ensuring safety in supply of energy resources, focusing on renewable sources of energy.
Specific projects the implementation of which is ongoing and possibilities for fresh financing of development projects in the country were discussed during the meeting. Need for accelerating the implementation of the Gas Interconnector Greece-North Macedonia Project was highlighted, especially given the recent developments globally. The Project provides for diversification of energy sources, achieving the de-carbonization goals and energy efficiency. Besimi and Pavlova signed Finance Contract in the amount of EUR 28.9 million for the Project implementation. Additional EUR 12.4 million has been provided under WBIF as an investment grant, to be managed by the European Investment Bank. Remaining EUR 16.5 million is planned to be provided from EBRD, support also being requested therefore.
“We are looking forward to accelerating the green, inclusive and sustainable transition of North Macedonia through reinforced cooperation with our local parents. The EIB plans to bring its financial and technical resources even closer to North Macedonia and other Western Balkans countries thank to our new dedicated branch – EIB Global. Under this new brand, I would like to re-affirm EIB’s full backing to North Macedonia in achieving their goals and reforms in line with the EU policies and EC Enlargement Strategy. As a strong and dedicated partner to North Macedonia, we will work actively to enable the country to benefit from the funds available within the Economic and Investment Plan for the region. In addition to our support for infrastructure projects, we are committed to support the digital and energy efficiency transition of the private sector as well”, Pavlova said.
EIB and EBRD support will provide for closing the financial structure of the construction of Rail Corridor VIII – Kriva Palanka section – Bulgarian border. Minister of Finance thanked EIB for their support for obtaining investment grant for implementation of this Project through WBIF instrument in the amount of EUR 149.2 million. EIB agreed to provide additional technical and overall support to the end of accelerating the Project implementation in the coming phases.
“Implementation of this Project is one of the priorities of the Government, taking into account that the construction of the third section of Rail Corridor 8 is one of the key issues raised during the latest discussions with Bulgaria, and a strategic project the Macedonian-Bulgarian Transport Group works actively at the moment. Moreover, the Government also plans to complete the construction of the western part of Rail Corridor 8, in particular Kicevo section – Albania border. It will soon submit an application to the IFIs, including EIB, to express interest for financing this Project”, Minister Besimi pointed out at the meeting with Pavlova.
During the meeting, they also talked about the new Water Supply and Waste Water Collection Project, which will cover 80 municipalities, totaling EUR 50 million, and is envisaged to be approved by EIB Board in the middle of this year. This paves the path towards implementation of this major project, which will improve the quality of life of the citizens. In addition, as regards municipal infrastructure, so-far implementation of Skopje WWTP Project, financed by EIB and EBRD, was also discussed.
They also talked about a possibility for additional support from EIB through a cheap credit line for SMEs supporting the energy transition, as well as the possibilities for the new EFSD+ grant scheme of the European Commission for the Wester Balkans and the priority areas of the Government of North Macedonia.
Besimi and Pavlova re-affirmed the commitment to continuing the close cooperation, intensifying the communication in the period to come, as well as the importance of EIB as a development partner to our country.