The social development bank for Europe
CEB to support employment in Greece and North Macedonia
24 March 2021
PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved a €2 million loan to the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa Coop. L. L. and a €15 million loan to ProCredit Bank Skopje to support jobs and MSME development in Greece and North Macedonia.
The loan to the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa Coop. L. L. will benefit micro-enterprises registered in Thessaly – a rural region with a high unemployment rate, where small businesses’ access to finance is particularly limited. The CEB financing will help start-ups, women-entrepreneurs, smallholders, cooperatives and social enterprises to secure funding for their operations and thus generate employment opportunities for the residents of the region.
The loan to ProCredit Bank Skopje will finance MSME investments and working capital needs for about 100 enterprises in North Macedonia. In particular, the CEB financing will support manufacturing and trade, agriculture, and ’green’ or environmentally sustainable activities. The loan will thus help to create and maintain jobs with MSMEs - a sector which accounts for three out of every four jobs in North Macedonia.
The Governor of the CEB, Rolf Wenzel, said: “We are pleased to initiate our cooperation with the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa Coop. L. L. and to continue working with ProCredit Bank Skopje. The availability of finance for MSMEs is critical for Europe’s economic and inclusive recovery from the current crisis, so the CEB will continue to support this sector and, in particular, small businesses.”
 Greece is a founding member of the CEB. The Bank has approved more than €270 million in financing over the recent years in support of COVID-19 and flood protection measures. In addition, Greece has benefited from grant support from the Migrant and Refugee Fund. More information can be found here. North Macedonia joined the CEB in December 1997. The Bank has approved more than €170 million in financing over the past ten years for MSMEs and in support of education, health and judicial infrastructure. In addition, the country is one of the ten largest beneficiary of grant funding from CEB trust accounts. More information can be found here.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.