EBRD, EU and donors back SME and residential green investments in Serbia

By Bojana Vlajcic

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  • Loans worth €25 million to Banca Intesa Belgrade to boost access to finance for SMEs and homeowners
  • EU, WBIF and Austria funds to support investments in competitiveness and green technologies
  • Building a green, competitive and well-integrated economy in Serbia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing two loans worth a total of €25 million to Banca Intesa Belgrade to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia reach EU quality standards and residential homeowners make their buildings more energy efficient.

The first part of the financial package consists of a €20 million loan to increase the competiveness of Serbian SMEs. The funds will be lent on to businesses to upgrade their production processes and equipment to EU standards, particularly with regard to product quality and safety, health and safety measures, and environmental preservation.

These investments will be covered by the Western Balkans SME Competitiveness Support Programme, for which the EBRD provides loans, along with European Union (EU) incentive payments and technical assistance. The goal is to help SMEs to modernise their activities and take advantage of trade opportunities in the Western Balkans region and the wider European market.

The second part of the financial package is a €5 million loan to support individual investments in green materials, equipment and technologies for privately owned residential buildings. It falls under the Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF), which promotes energy- and resource-efficient solutions to build a greener and more sustainable economy.

The programme is backed by the European Union, the Western Balkans Investment Framework and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.

Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, said: “We are very pleased that, together with our longstanding partner, Banca Intesa Belgrade, we are stepping up support for small business. Jointly, we have already extended more than €180 million to SMEs and women-led business in Serbia, and this additional funding will address local businesses’ need for further well-structured loans, grants and technical assistance. We are also pleased that Banca Intesa is joining our GEFF programme, which promotes investments in energy efficiency. Over 2,000 households in Serbia have already invested in energy-saving measures with GEFF funding and we are sure that there are going to be many more once Banca Intesa offers this specialised credit line to its clients.”

Darko Popovic, President of the Executive Board of Banca Intesa, said: “I am very glad that we continue our successful cooperation with the EBRD in accordance with our strategic commitment and the concept of the Circle of Sustainable Ideas on which we base environmental protection, social engagement and responsible management projects. Thanks to the funds from the new credit line, we will offer more favourable financing conditions for small and medium enterprises that wish to improve and harmonize their business with the EU green standards and thus contribute to increasing their competitiveness in the local and European markets. Also, thanks to funding from the GEFF program, we will make possible to household owners to invest in energy efficient solutions, in addition to the ability to recoup up to 20 per cent of the investment, achieve significant financial savings in the long run and contribute to environmental protection together with us.''

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. The Bank has invested more than €7.3 billion in the country to date. The Bank’s focus in Serbia is on private-sector development, improving public utilities and facilitating the country’s transition to a green economy. 

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