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Serbia: CEB approves €240 million to support protection of the environment

27 November 2019

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved two project loans for a combined amount of €240 million to the Serbian government to support investments in the protection of the environment. 

The first loan, in the amount of €200 million, will finance investments in water supply and wastewater management, in line with government priorities in the area of environmental protection. For the water supply, the funds will be used for the modernisation of the network through priority measures in 60 municipalities. The measures will result in the reduction of water loss, enhanced water supply coverage and improved quality of water for 2 million people or close to 30 percent of the population of Serbia.

The CEB is also supporting this investment programme with a €1.1 million grant for technical assistance. The grant is funded by contributions of €250,000 from the Italian Fund for Innovative Projects, the Slovak Inclusive Growth Account, and the Spanish Social Cohesion Account. In addition, the CEB’s Social Dividend Account contributed €350,000.   

The second loan, worth €40 million, will finance energy efficiency improvements to government buildings in Belgrade. Almost 30 government buildings of about 200,000 square metres in total will be modernised and made energy-efficient. These works will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to Serbia’s targets for climate change mitigation and reduction of CO2 emissions. In addition, it will lead to significant energy savings and improve working conditions for a large number of employees.

Given the technical challenges posed by the envisaged works, the CEB also approved a technical assistance grant of €600,000, of which €400,000 come from the Slovak Inclusive Growth Account and €200,000 from the Spanish Social Cohesion Account. This is in addition to the  €312,000 in technical assistance that has already been allocated to the project by the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). 

"Environmental considerations are key in CEB project financing. We are firmly committed to supporting our member countries’ climate change policies and we do our utmost to help them reach their targets in terms of energy efficiency, reduction of CO2 emissions, and other climate adaptation and mitigation policies,” said CEB Governor Wenzel. “I am pleased with the excellent cooperation between the CEB and Serbia not only in the area of environmental protection but also in several other areas of social development,” he concluded.

Serbia has been a CEB member since 2004. In addition to the protection of the environment, CEB operations in the country focus on support for micro, small and medium-sized businesses through local partner banks as well as investments in public infrastructure, particularly in health and education. 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.

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 (AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and Aa1 with Moody's, 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.