New CEB loan to finance reconstruction and modernisation of Serbia’s Aviation Academy College of Applied Studies

22 November 2021

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved a €20 million loan to Serbia to finance the reconstruction and modernisation of the newly formed state-owned Aviation Academy College of Applied Studies.

Established by the Serbian Government in May 2021, the college will consist of two aviation training centres in Vršac and Belgrade, and will offer comprehensive professional training for aircraft pilots, air traffic controllers, aircraft maintenance staff and cabin crew, within the state education system, in a dual education model. 

The college will be the first state-owned college of this type in Serbia and the Western Balkans, with diplomas certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). 

“This loan will contribute to making the academic education of this type accessible to a wider range of the population, especially to students from low-income families,” CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said. “Because study expenses will be covered from the budget of the Republic of Serbia, potential social benefits of the project are very high: students from all social categories will be able to pursue the otherwise expensive studies to become pilots or air traffic controllers.”

The project will therefore directly contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals on quality education and reduced inequality. 

It is expected that the two existing aviation training centres in Vršac and Belgrade will be fully renovated and provisioned with specialised equipment, technology, and onsite accommodation facilities by mid-2023.

The Serbian Ministry of Education plans to have the college fully operational in October 2023, so that students who already started learning theory in October 2021, could start with practical training from October 2023.

The project can be seen as a pilot for developing dual education at the academic level and making academic education accessible to a larger part of the population. It is expected that around 1 500 students will benefit from it within the period of four to five years from the start of the operations of the college. 

For the CEB this is the fourth project in Serbia focused on improving educational infrastructure. In 2011, the Bank approved a €28.5 million loan to support the construction of high-school and university student dormitories and training of teachers. In 2020, it authorised €32 million for housing for low-income state university students, while in 2021 it granted €95 million for the renovation of several university faculties, such as mechanical engineering, biology, geography, fine arts and others. 

A member country since 2004, Serbia has benefited from over €1 billion in CEB investments, including from trust funds, such as the Regional Housing Programme and the Western Balkans Investment Framework. The Bank is currently financing projects in the field of health, education, environmental protection, and energy efficiency.

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 positive 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.

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