The EBRD and the Eastern Partnership

The EU set up the Eastern Partnership to develop closer bilateral and multilateral ties with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Eastern Partnership summits are held every two years and before Vilnius took place in Prague (2009) and Warsaw (2011).

The EBRD has been a major investor in the partner countries since their independence at the end of 1991 and remains an important contributor. Total EBRD investments in all six countries to date amount to €14.8 billion, while the Bank has also mobilised over €20 billion in foreign direct investments. Here we list each of the countries and highlight some of our projects in them.

Armenia

To date the EBRD had invested €652 million in 126 investments in the country for a total project value of €1.3 billion.

Azerbaijan

To date the Bank has invested €1.6 billion in 136 investments outside oil and gas for a total project value of €6.6 billion.

Belarus

The EBRD’s activities in Belarus have been limited by the country’s uneven progress in democratic and market-oriented transition. To date the Bank has invested €1.3 billion in 60 projects for a total project value of €1.9 billion.

Georgia

To date the Bank has invested €1.8 billion in 160 investments for a total project value of €5.2 billion.

Moldova

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Moldova, and has to date signed some 100 investments for a cumulative amount of almost €900 million in the country for a total project value of €1.6 billion.

Ukraine

The EBRD is the largest financial investor in the country with €8.6 billion investments in 312 projects for a total value of €18.7 billion.

The EBRD has also developed a number of regional programmes to address issues such as access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises or supporting the efficient and environment-friendly generation and consumption of energy.

Early Transition Countries Initiative

The EBRD launched the Early Transition Countries (ETC Initiative) in 2004 to increase transition and financing activity in its lowest-income countries of operation. Within the Eastern Partnership region the ETCs include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova.

To date, EBRD investments in the five countries have amounted to €4.7 billion for 600 projects.

Common strategic priorities for the five countries include, among others, increasing access to finance, improving the business environment, supporting private sector development and upgrading infrastructure and energy efficiency.

Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P)

The E5P is a multi-donor fund managed by the EBRD to facilitate investments in energy efficiency and environmental projects aiming at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Eastern Partnership countries. The Fund has been successfully operating in Ukraine (supported by €92 million) for two years and is currently expanding to Armenia, Georgia and Moldova, which joined in October 2013 as both contributors and recipients of €60 million recently pledged additional funds.

In addition to the recipient countries, E5P donors are: the European Union (the largest contributor with €40 million), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine and the United States.

SME flagship initiative

The EBRD is involved in the Eastern Partnership SME Flagship Initiative through the SME Finance Facility, the SME Direct Support Facility and the Small Business Support (SBS) programmes, all supported with funding from the EU Neighbourhood Financing Facility (NIF).

The SME Finance Facility combines EBRD, EIB and KfW loans with EU grant resources, to support SME lending in the EaP region. For the EBRD-KfW window, the EU NIF approved €10 million in 2010.

The SME Direct Support Facility, approved in 2013, combines EBRD and SIMEST loans/equity investments with EU grants, to support direct SME financing in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The EU approved up to €10 million for risk sharing and €1 million for technical cooperation projects.

The EBRD Small Business Support programmes provide SMEs with technical assistance from experienced advisors and consultants to develop their business and improve competitiveness. The SBS in this region is funded by the European Union that so far made available €10 million for a total of over 760 projects and a further €8 million provided was provided in August 2013 under the NIF for up to 500 more projects. The SBS programme in these countries is also supported by the ETC Fund, Austria, Sweden, Germany and the United States.

The Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA)

TRACECA is an international transport programme involving the EU and 14 member states from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. TRACECA supports the political and economic independence of its member states by enhancing their capacity to access European and world markets through alternative transport routes, encouraging further regional co-operation and increasingly being a catalyst to attract the support of IFIs and private investors.

TRACECA focuses on maritime transport, aviation, road and rail, transport security and transport infrastructure. The EBRD has given strong support to the TRACECA programme which in turn has provided excellent TC support for our projects.

The EBRD’s activities and investments have been strongly supported throughout by the donor community through technical cooperation (TC) funding, investment grants and risk sharing facilities.

Between 2008 and 2012 alone, EBRD donors cumulatively committed over €275 million in TCs, investment grants, concessional loans and incentive payments backing projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine with activities ranging from investment preparation and implementation, to institutional reform and regulatory development.

The largest donor in these countries is the European Union. Since 2009, through its NIF, the EU has approved a total of over €187 million to support 31 EBRD investments in the financial, transport, power and energy, Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure and the SME sectors.

Other major donors focusing in these countries include the Early Transition Countries Fund, and, bilaterally, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States, amongst others.