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PRESS RELEASE

BEI/11/61

16 May 2011

EIB welcomes Serbian delegation

Signature of EUR 650 million loans for SMEs, Mid-caps and Fiat Auto Serbia

The European Investment Bank (EIB) welcomed a delegation of the Republic of Serbia at the EIB headquarters in Luxembourg on Monday 16 May. The EIB was represented by Dario Scannapieco, Vice President responsible for operations in the Western Balkans; the Republic of Serbia by the Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic, the Minister of Economy and Regional Development  Nebojsa Ciric and by the Governor of the National Bank of Serbia Dejan Soskic. In the discussion prior to the signature ceremony, Vice President Scannapieco covered with the Serbian Ministers and the Governor all the main issues concerning the EIB activity in Serbia aimed at helping the country on its path towards the European Union integration.

On the same occasion, the following loans for a total of EUR 650 million were signed:

a EUR 150 million loan for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-Caps;

a EUR 500 million loan for the investment program carried on by Fiat Auto Serbia.

Support to SME sector

The loan for SMEs and Mid-Caps (also called "Apex loan") is aimed at financing SME and Mid-Cap projects which are considered to be the driving force of the Serbian economy. The objective of the loan is to provide support for the development of the Country's financial system in favour of SMEs and Mid-Caps in order to sustain country’s economic recovery path.

This is the fourth Apex operation in Serbia since 2000. The last one totalling EUR 250 million was successfully allocated in support of local SMEs in 2009 and 2010.

Fiat Auto Serbia

The project concerns the investments for the modernisation and expansion of production capacity of an automotive plant in Kragujevac, Serbia, which is owned by Fiat Auto Serbia, a joint venture between Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. (FGA) and the Republic of Serbia. The financing is expected to have significant multiplying effects on the local economy and employment. Moreover the operation contributes to develop the localization of suppliers that decided to set up their production in the region.

The project’s scope concerns the production of a new multi-purpose vehicle and is fully in line with the EIB’s lending policy to the transport sector according to European Commission guidelines. The loan will also benefit from a euro 200 million guarantee of SACE (the Italian export credit agency, owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy).

The EIB results in the Western Balkans and in Croatia in 2010

The EIB is the bank of the European Union. Founded in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome, it operates in the 27 EU Member States and more than 130 other countries. In 2010, it signed loans totalling EUR 72 billion, with over than 90% of its financing for projects within the Member States, EFTA, Candidate and Potential Candidate countries. It is the largest supranational borrower and lender in the world and the only international financial institution politically accountable to EU policymakers and institutions.

The EIB has been active in the Western Balkans and in Croatia since 1977 and is today the largest international financier in the region. Over the past ten years, the bank has financed projects totalling EUR 7 billion in the area. Since 2001, EIB signed in total EUR 3 billion loans in Serbia.

In 2010 the EIB provided loans in the Western Balkans totalling EUR 914m (in addition to EUR 511m in Croatia), confirming the Bank as the largest international financier in the region.

The focus of its lending is on projects promoting all major infrastructure sectors (transport, energy, health and education, water and sanitation) as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry, services and local authorities.

In November 2010 the EIB opened a new regional representative office in Belgrade with two different goals: to support the development of EIB activity in the region and to stress the commitment of European institutions to support the area with a view to membership of the European Union.

The EIB plays an active role in the development of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), an initiative whose purpose is to facilitate the preparation and the financing of priority projects under the EU’s pre-accession process. The WBIF is being developed jointly with the European Commission, the EBRD and the Council of Europe Development Bank as well as EU Member States and blends available grants and loans for the priority projects in the region. In 2010, the first year of its existence, the WBIF provided directly EUR 39m of grants for 39 projects, which will receive loans of EUR 2.6bn, mobilising investment of some EUR 5.2bn.

Press contact:

Marco Santarelli, m.santarelli@eib.org, +39 331 6595594

Website: www.eib.org/pressPress desk +352 43 79 21000 - press@eib.org


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