Governor Wenzel, on an official visit to Serbia, inaugurates CEB-financed projects
3 October 2018
BELGRADE - The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Rolf Wenzel, concluded an official visit to Serbia, during which he met with the Prime Minister and other government officials and inaugurated two projects which have been co-financed by the CEB.The Governor and the CEB delegation were received by Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, with whom he exchanged views on recent developments in Europe relevant to the Bank as well as on current and future cooperation between Serbia and the CEB.
Together with the Prime Minister, Governor Wenzel inaugurated the Dragiša Mišović Hospital in Belgrade, one of seven medical institutions in the Serbian capital co-financed by the CEB. The CEB is also supporting preparations for the construction of a new University Children’s Hospital in Belgrade and is considering the provision of further financing for the refurbishment and modernisation of another twenty hospitals in the country from 2019 onwards.The Governor’s visit to Serbia included a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić, the focus of which was the Regional Housing Programme (RHP) and its progress in Serbia and the rest of the region. About 2,700 families are expected to be provided with sustainable housing in Serbia and 4,400 in all RHP partner countries before the end of 2018.
In the same framework, Governor Wenzel, along with the Mayor of the City of Belgrade Zoran Radojičić, paid a visit to the Bunijevac family, new residents of the RHP-funded project in Ovca. Housing more than 200 refugee families, Ovca is RHP’s flagship project so far.
During his official visit, the Governor also met with Serbia’s Minister of Finance Siniša Mali to discuss ongoing CEB operations in the country and the prospect of strengthening cooperation in several areas.
Along with the Minister of Justice Nela Kuburović, Governor Wenzel inaugurated a penitentiary facility in Pančevo, which the CEB co-financed. The facility, designed in accordance with the European Prison Rules, is part of a wider investment of the Serbian government in the judiciary sector and has also received support from the Western Balkan Investment Facility (WBIF). The CEB is also co-financing the construction of a penitentiary facility in Kragujevac, expected to begin in early 2019.
Governor Wenzel said: “I am pleased with the excellent cooperation between Serbia and the CEB, which we are working to expand further, and I thank the Serbian government for their hospitality. The financing of public infrastructure in health and the judiciary sector are among the priorities of the CEB. The projects that we finance in Serbia are a testament to the CEB’s firm commitment to providing support and expertise to its members for infrastructure investments.”A CEB member since 2004, Serbia is an active partner of the Bank in the framework of the CEB-managed Regional Housing Programme (RHP) and the programme’s largest beneficiary. Also, CEB refugee grants to Serbia under the Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) since 2016 have exceeded € 3.5 million. The CEB’s lending portfolio in the country is in the range of € 250 million, focusing mainly on social infrastructure in the areas of housing, education and penitentiary centres, as well as support for 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 positive 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.