The European Investment Bank will cut this year’s commitments to new projects worldwide, including the Western Balkans, while stepping up disbursement of loans approved in the past to clear the backlog and make its aid more efficient, EIB Vice President Dario Scannapieco said.
New “signatures” in the Western Balkans, where the European Union’s lending arm finances infrastructure, key to luring new foreign investment, and assists small- and medium- sized enterprises, will probably drop by “around 20 percent” from 1.03 billion euros ($1.36 billion) in 2011, tracking the global trend, Scannapieco told a news conference in Belgrade today.
The change follows calls by the European Council to the bank to “more support” the crisis-hit EU economies as well as the economies of EU candidate countries, he said.
The AAA-rated lender will be seeking to clear a backlog of signed project financing waiting to be disbursed to Albania and former Yugoslav republics of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro, worth 1.8 billion euros in 2011.
EIB disbursed 859 million euros-worth of loans to the five nations in 2011, with Serbia consuming 67 percent of the funds.
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