EU invests €70 million in largest wastewater treatment plant in North Macedonia
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €70 million EU investment grant with the government of North Macedonia to build a wastewater treatment plant in Skopje. Signed on World Water Day, 22 March, this is the largest EU investment grant allocated to the country under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). This environmental project will enable better living conditions for some 500,000 people, and is part of the European Commission’s Economic and Investment Plan and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.
The signing was attended by EU Ambassador to North Macedonia David Geer, EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of North Macedonia Bojan Maričić, Minister of Finance Fatmir Besimi, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning Kaja Shukova, and other high-ranking officials. In addition to the EU grants channelled through WBIF, the project is also being financed by EIB Global’s €68 million loan, complemented with the funds from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the government of North Macedonia.
The project has been identified as a Flagship 7 - Waste and waste water management in the European Union's Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans 2021-2027.
EU Ambassador to North Macedonia David Geer stated: “The path towards the EU is a process of transformation, of improving lives and living standards. The investment by Team Europe in the Skopje Wastewater Treatment Plant is a practical example of this. The plant will be able to safely treat and clean the wastewater generated by almost one-third of the country’s population. It will contribute to the greener European future of this country.”
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova said: “We are extremely proud to be able to deliver this kind of support for North Macedonia in times of prolonged crisis and profound challenges. Signing this grant is a strong demonstration of the Team Europe approach and commitment to the country on its path to EU and regional integration, as well as better living standards for all. This project is expected to generate substantial environmental improvements and health benefits, while bringing the country closer to its environment protection and climate targets.”
Minister of Finance Fatmir Besimi added: “The agreement we are signing today brings the Republic of North Macedonia a step closer to achieving its goal of joining the European family. The Republic of North Macedonia has commenced negotiations with the European Union and is increasing activities that further this objective. In parallel, reforms aimed at bringing Europe home and implementing European standards for everyday life are picking up speed. In addition to harmonisation with the EU acquis, a key part of this process, we are also pursuing major infrastructure projects that will contribute to the overall development and growth of the economy. Defined strategic projects are being recognised by the European Union and, so far, North Macedonia has been granted funds amounting to €462 million to implement 29 such projects. Their assessed investment value totals €2.6 billion.”
In its preparatory phase, the project benefitted from various technical assistance grants from the EIB, EBRD, WBIF and the French government – a testament of the commitment of Team Europe to North Macedonia and its priority projects. The water sector is also among key priorities for the EIB in the country. This is the second investment in this sector in less than five months, following a €50 million loan signed in November 2022 for the construction and rehabilitation of water supply, wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure, as well as emergency flood protection measures for the 80 municipalities across North Macedonia.
More about the WBIF Environment and Climate sector
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