Governor Wenzel concludes official visit to Serbia
20 December 2016
PARIS – The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Rolf Wenzel, concluded an official visit to Serbia, where he met with the Prime Minister and other members of the government, and visited several sites of CEB-financed projects.
On 19-20 December, Governor Wenzel met in Belgrade with Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, the Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Aleksandar Vulin, and the Minister of Justice, Nela Kuburović. The meetings focused on CEB projects under implementation in Serbia, prospects for future bilateral cooperation, and issues related to migrants and refugees.Governor Wenzel visited sites of two projects financed by the CEB: a penitentiary centre in Pančevo and the Adasevci migrant reception facility. At the Pančevo facility work has started, while at Adasevci the construction is completed. Visiting a children’s hospital in Tiršova, the Governor expressed satisfaction with the planned renovation and extension work of the existing facilities. The CEB is currently evaluating the possibility of financing this project.
The Governor also opened the photo exhibition “New Home”, portraying the stories of beneficiaries of both the Regional Housing Programme which the CEB manages and a European Union project for improving the living conditions of forced migrants.At the end of his official visit, Governor Wenzel said: “This visit reaffirmed the excellent cooperation between the CEB and Serbia in a number of areas, such as public infrastructure, aid to migrants and refugees, and social housing to refugees and displaced persons, including through the Regional Housing Programme. I thank the Serbian government for the hospitality they extended to the CEB delegation, and I look forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation in the future.” A CEB member since 2004, Serbia is an active partner of the Bank in the framework of the Regional Housing Programme (RHP), which the CEB is managing. As the largest beneficiary of the RHP, Serbia is implementing projects that should provide decent housing to an estimated 14,000 vulnerable persons.
In September 2016, the CEB and Serbia signed a grant agreement to provide assistance to migrants and refugees in the country, bringing the total amount of grants to Serbia from the CEB’s Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) to € 3.5 million.
The CEB’s lending portfolio in Serbia exceeds € 230 million, focusing mainly on social infrastructure in the areas of housing, education and penitentiary centres, as well as support to micro, small and medium-sized businesses through local partner banks.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 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, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and AA+ with Fitch 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.