22nd March 2023, Skopje – EU has granted EUR 70 million to the Government of North Macedonia for financing the Skopje Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. Today, Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Kaja Shukova, and Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Lilyana Pavlova, signed Grant Agreement, provided under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Bojan Marichic, and EU Ambassador, David Geer, also attended the signing ceremony.

The grant funds add to EIB 68 million euros and EBRD 58 million euros provided for the implementation of this Project. Total financing for Project implementation, which is within the competence of the City of Skopje and PE Vodovod i kanalizacija, amounts to EUR 197.2 million.

As Deputy Prime Minister Marichic said, the Project is a proof of the European integration being the best formula for further development of the Republic of North Macedonia.

“EU membership is not just about meeting the criteria under the negotiating clusters and harmonization with the EU acquis. EU negotiations are aimed at improving the living conditions for all our citizens”, Marichic said, adding that the Project creates significant and visible benefits to improving the urban environment of the City of Skopje, improving the quality of wastewater treatment services and meeting the European standards.

Marichic underlined that this type of projects bring Europe home, bring the European Union standards and way of living to our country and our capital.

Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, pointed out that the Grant Agreement signed today brings the Republic of North Macedonia a step closer to achieving its EU perspectives and joining the European family.

“Republic of North Macedonia has commenced negotiations with the EU, with the activities on the path thereto intensifying. In parallel, reforms aimed at brining Europe home and implementing the European standards in everyday living pick up speed. In addition to the harmonization with the EU acquis, which is part of this process, activities are also being undertaken in terms of major infrastructure projects which will contribute to overall development and growth of the economy. Defined strategic projects are being recognized by the EU, with North Macedonia, so far, being granted funds in the amount of EUR 462 million for implementation of 29 projects, the assessed investment value of which amounts to EUR 2.6 billion”, Minister Besimi said.

Minister Shukova emphasized that the Grant Agreement provides for a financial close and launching the construction of Skopje wastewater treatment plant.  “With the funds provided, she said, the City of Skopje is to now finalize the expropriation process and, together with Gazi Baba Municipality, prepare the urban plan documentation, and the Director of PE Vodovod i kanalizacija is to sign the construction and the supervision contracts.  It is a challenging process requiring enhanced coordination of all stakeholders. Yes, we are ready to accept the challenge. The Project goes beyond all political interests and it is an imperative should we want to be part of the European family”, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Kaja Shukova, said.

EU Ambassador Geer pointed out that path to EU is a process of transformation, of improving lives and living standards.  “The investment by Team Europe in the Skopje Wastewater Treatment Plant is a practical example of exactly this.  The plant will be able to safely treat and clean the waste water generated by almost one third of the country’s population.  It will contribute to the greener European future of this country, Ambassador Geer said.

“We are extremely proud to be able to deliver this kind of support for North Macedonia in times of prolonged crisis and profound challenges.  Signing this grant is a strong demonstration of the Team Europe approach and EU commitment to the country on its path to EU and regional integration, as well as better living standards for all.   This project is expected to generate substantial environmental improvements and health benefits, while bringing the country closer to its environment protection and climate targets”, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Lilyana Pavlova, who is responsible for operations in North Macedonia.

The Grant Agreement signed today adds to the rich portfolio of investments implemented with the support of EIB in the amount of EUR 1.16 billion.  Investments for construction of a modern transport network in the country amount to EUR 277 million, while investments in water supply and sewerage systems and better access to drinking water and investments in the energy sector amounting to EUR 178 million and EUR 64 million respectively. At the moment, EIB finances public sector projects worth EUR 147 million, while WBIF investment grants, obtained with the support of EIB, amount to EUR 82.2 million. Capital investments, which will bring North Macedonia closer to the EU, are among the key priorities, with the projected EUR 800 million in the Budget intended for infrastructure projects speaking in favour thereof.

Signing the Grant Agreement for Skopje WWTP also marked the World Water Day.


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