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Western Balkans Investment Framework concludes successful Steering Committee meeting, receives new pledges

18 December 2019

PARIS – The latest Steering Committee meeting of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) took place in London on 16 and 17 December with the participation of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), one of the WBIF’s founding members. 

Austria, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Luxembourg pledged an additional €8 million in grants to the WBIF since the previous meeting, which will be available for the next rounds of technical assistance and investment grants. The European Commission will add €14 million for WBIF technical assistance in 2020.

The Steering Committee discussed the European Green Deal and its implications for the Western Balkans, the status of economic reform programmes and existing EU guarantee instruments for private sector development in the region, and the future operational role of the WBIF.

The CEB reiterated its support for an inclusive transition of the Western Balkans towards a green economy. Future CEB investments will continue to be aimed at strengthening social development in the region while also seeking to protect vulnerable population groups from the effects of climate change and other environmental pressures.

Moreover, the CEB remains committed to contributing to further discussions on WBIF operational improvements, particularly in its capacity as Co-Chair of the WBIF Project Financiers’ Group (PFG) throughout 2020.

The meeting was hosted by the EBRD – the current PFG Co-Chair, on its London premises. More details can be found here.

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The WBIF is a financing facility launched in December 2009 by the European Commission, together with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Bilateral Donors, and Western Balkan countries with the purpose of delivering funding for strategic investment projects in beneficiary countries. The WBIF blends grants, loans, and beneficiary contributions for infrastructure development in the environment, energy, transport, social and digital sectors as well as private sector development. The World Bank Group, the KfW Development Bank and the AFD (Agence Française de Développement) subsequently joined the Framework.

To date, social and environment sector projects co-financed by the CEB in the region have benefited from €28 million in EU and Bilateral Donor grants.

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.