The EU, EBRD and Austria Donate Trees for a Greener Western Balkans

The EU, EBRD and Austria Donate Trees for a Greener Western Balkans


To mark the results of the Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) programme and to symbolically contribute to the fight against climate change, the European Union, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and Austria began planting 1,000 trees in six Western Balkan beneficiaries. The trees also represent the EBRD award for the 18 most active partner financial institutions, and 32 producers and sellers of energy efficient technologies, for their contribution to the success of the GEFF programme in the Western Balkans.

The action of planting trees started last week in Podgorica in Montenegro (linden trees) and in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina (white pine). In the coming weeks the campaign will continue in Albania, Kosovo*, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The GEFF, which is developed by the EBRD and co-financed with grant resources from the EU-supported WBIF Project “Regional Energy Efficiency Programme” and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, has supported over 9,000 households in the region to improve energy efficiency over the past four years with investments in new windows, insulation, heat pumps etc. The programme, which offers specialised credit lines and grant resources, has financed green technology investments worth over €45 million.

Upon successful completion of the investments, households receive EU-funded incentive grants worth up to 20 percent of the loan amount, making these investments more affordable to citizens.

Yngve Engstrom, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Montenegro: “Investing in energy efficiency is a win-win. For citizens, it reduces the costs of energy, it creates a more comfortable home and it reduces the damages to the planet. Energy efficiency is not only green; it is green growth. It creates jobs, innovation and growth of the economy. The EU will help Montenegro on the road toward Green Growth.“

Remon Zakaria, EBRD Head of Montenegro: “Improving energy efficiency leads to lower energy use and bills and overall better quality of living, and we are glad that households in Montenegro have been able to feel these benefits thanks to our GEFF programme. We would like to thank all our GEFF partners including CKB as well as vendor of green technologies Mikromont for helping us to successfully extend the GEFF programme in Montenegro.”

Remon Zakaria, EBRD; Yngve Engstrom, EUDEL (c) EU Delegation to Montenegro

Gilles Rebattet, Head of Head of Operations for Economic Development, Natural Resources, and Infrastructures at the EU Delegation to BiH: “Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Trees and forests play an essential role in mitigating the impact of climate change and this is one of the actions we can all contribute to the air that we breathe becoming cleaner and healthier. Depollution is one of the pillars of the EU Green Deal which sets out a vision for 2050 − a vision of a world where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health. The European Union stands ready to help the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the reduction of air pollution. Together with our partners we are supporting numerous projects aiming to reverse the increasing levels of pollution. This includes a shift towards cleaner and renewable energy sources, more efficient heating and transportation systems, and increasing energy efficiency. One person alone, cannot do much, but joint actions can make the difference.”

Manuela Naessl, EBRD Head of Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Improving energy efficiency leads to lower energy bills and overall better quality of living, and we are glad that over 3000 households in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been able to feel these benefits thanks to our GEFF programme. With this tree planting action today we would like to thank all our GEFF partners including UniCredit Mostar, UniCredit Banja Luka, Sparkasse, MKF Partner as well as vendors of green technologies Vokel, Aluplastik, AMD Sconto Brčko, ThermoFLUX, Aluplast and EPS Laštro for helping us to successfully promote the GEFF programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Anja Margetić, Deputy Mayor of Sarajevo; Nicola Ann Hardwick, Embassy of Austria; Manuela Naessl, EBRD (c) EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina

GEFF is implemented under the umbrella of the WBIF project ’The Regional Energy Efficiency Programme for the Western Balkans (REEP Plus)’, funded by the European Union and the Federal Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Austria (BMF) and delivered in partnership with the Energy Community Secretariat. The REEP Plus is identified in the European Commission's Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans as one of the Flagship projects within the "Renovation Wave" under the Investment window "Clean Energy". These projects contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the living standards and health of citizens.