21st Western Balkan Investment Framework (WBIF) Steering Committee met in London 16 and 17 December
Around 120 participants from the European Commission, Financial Institutions (EIB, EIF, EBRD, CEB, KfW, WBG and AFD), Bilateral Donors from Member States and Norway, the Energy Community Secretariat (ECS), the WB Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF), the Western Balkans beneficiaries and Japan attended the 21st WBIF Steering Committee (SC) meeting in London.
The meeting was co-chaired by Deputy Director General Katariná Mathernová and hosted by the EBRD in London. The meeting took stock of WBIF’s achievements over the past 10 years and finalised the so-called WBIF 2.0 evolution to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the instrument. Director Genoveva Ruiz Calavera explained participants the six key priorities of the new Commission in the context of DG NEAR’s policies towards the region. A session lead by DG CLIMA Head of Unit Elina Bardam focused on the just published EU Green Deal.
Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and Poland pledged an additional €8 million in grants which will be available for technical assistance and investment grants, while the European Commission will add €14 million for WBIF technical assistance by May 2020.
The WBIF SC approved €194 million in technical assistance and investment grants for projects in the digital, energy, environment and transport sectors. The meeting also included a session on the private sector with completion of the WB EDIF reintegration into WBIF, discussion on the diversification of financial markets and endorsement of two new Commission supported equity funds for innovative and expanding companies.
On the margins of the meeting, the European Commission, the EBRD and the EIB signed two agreements to support the Advice for Small Business programme in the Western Balkans (€15 million) and the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme (€30 million). The latter extends support to the residential sector and the rehabilitation of public buildings and is implemented together with KfW Group.
More details (agenda, presentations, 10th year visibility materials) can be found here.
A new video on the WBIF Transport Sector – Investing in Regional Connectivity is now available. Check it out!
Photo gallery from the event can be viewed here.