The EBRD’s strong relationship with EU institutions is multi-faceted and extremely wide-ranging.
EU and the EBRD: at a glance
3 per cent capital share, and EBRD’s largest single donor
Circa €5.547 billion: total donor contributions
(€4.561 million was secured to EBRD, while the rest consisted of contributions to EBRD managed funds)
In 2022, the EU contributed €998 million (€398 million of grants and €600 million in unfunded guarantees) for EBRD projects
Funding channels include the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) for Turkey and the Western Balkans, the European Neighbourhood Instrument for countries on the eastern and southern edge of Europe, the Development Cooperation Instrument financing EBRD projects in Central Asia, as well as the External Guarantee of the European Fund for Sustainable Development. EBRD projects in EU member states have also benefited from funding through the Structural and Cohesion Funds, European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) and the Horizon 2020 programme.
In addition to accessing EU funding on a bilateral basis, the EBRD is an active participant in the regional blending facilities, which combine grants with investments from European and International financial institutions. These include:
- the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF),
- the Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP),
- the Asia Pacific Investment Facility (APIF),
- the EU’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, the MADAD Fund.
- The EU is also critical to EBRD operations by supporting policy dialogue. The EU is a driver of policy and legislation in many countries in which the EBRD invests. In addition, the Bank cooperates with EU institutions on current and emerging policies, whether linked to IFI growth plans, environmental issues or initiatives such as Vienna 2.0, a private-public sector platform established to secure adequate capital and liquidity support by banking groups for their affiliates in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe.
The Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP) supports projects in the transport, energy, financial, social and environmental sectors by combining EU grant resources with loans from European development financing institutions.
Projects recently co-financed by the NIP include the Women in Business Programme and the Saiss and Garet Water Project in Morocco, the Al Ghabawi Wastewater Treatment Plant in Jordan, the Innovation and SME Competitiveness in Lebanon, the MSME Financial Inclusion Programme and the Kitchener Drain and Fayoum Wastewater Projects in Egypt, and the Green Economy Financing Facilities in five SEMED countries. In the East, the NIP supports the Sisian-Kajaran Road Project, the Meghri Border Crossing Project and the Masrik Solar Plant Project in Armenia, road and railway projects in Moldova, the extension of the EBRD SME Financing Facility and the FINTECC programme in the Eastern Partnership countries and TC support for the protection of economic competition in Armenia. The NIP was also instrumental in repurposing funds for municipal projects in Ukraine.
The EU’s Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, the MADAD Fund, addresses educational, economic and social needs of Syrian refugees while also supporting overstretched host country communities and their administrations. The MADAD Fund co-financed the EBRD’s West Irbid Wastewater Network Construction Project in Jordan with an investment grant of €20 million in 2018.
The Asia Pacific Investment Facility (APIF), and its subregional predecessors, the Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA) and the Asia Investment Facility (AIF), are key in supporting EBRD activities in Central Asia and Mongolia. Since 2010, these blending facilities and EBRD have had a very strong partnership with 85 per cent of IFCA funds allocated to the EBRD in the form of grants and risk sharing for EBRD investments across the region in the municipal infrastructure, SME and energy efficiency sectors. Recent projects co-financed by IFCA include new subprojects of the Kyrgyz Water Rehabilitation Framework, the extension of the regional SME Financing Facility and the Khatlon Energy Loss Reduction Project in Tajikistan. The AIF co-finances EBRD projects to support economic diversification by providing access to finance for SMEs in Mongolia, to modernise the solid waste and district heating sector in the capital Ulaanbaatar and to establish flood protection and reduce water loss in the city of Erdenet. The APIF has recently approved to co-finance the Choir-Sainshand transmission line project in Mongolia.
The EBRD has also been a key implementing partner of the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), and its successor programme, the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+).
The EFSD and the EFSD+ instruments provide unfunded guarantees as risk-mitigation mechanisms to catalyse financing for development and importantly to leverage private sector investments. Under the EFSD/ EFSD+, seven EBRD programmes have been contracted so far for a total of €300 million in guarantees. These programmes cover EBRD’s SEMED and EEC regions, and target different sectors:
- The Framework to Scale up Renewable Energy Investments: €50 million in guarantees to scale up investments in renewable energy and accelerate the energy transition.
- The Municipal Infrastructure and Industrial Resilience Programme: €100 million in guarantees for projects that contribute to the green economy transition or for companies affected by either the Covid19 pandemic or more recently the War on Ukraine. The projects are in the Manufacturing & Services, Property & Tourism, Municipal Infrastructure, or Transport & logistics sectors.
- The Digital Transformation Platform: €35 million in guarantees to support investments in the broadband access infrastructure sector and the development of digital solutions.
- The Financial Inclusion Programme: €115 million in guarantees to enhance access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In addition, the EBRD and the EU are currently contracting the ‘Growth4All’ programme, which consists of a €40 million guarantee allocation to expand to the Western Balkans the currently operational EFSD Financial Inclusion programme, as well as a €50 million guarantee allocation to top-up the currently operational Municipal Infrastructure and Industrial Resilience programme.
Under the EFSD+, the EBRD received a new allocation of €607 million at the EFSD+ Board in January 2023. This extends the geographical coverage of this guarantee programme to all countries of operations of the EBRD outside of the EU, including: EBRD’s SEMED and EEC regions, the Western Balkans, Turkiye, Central Asia and Mongolia.
Four of the programmes approved under the EFSD+ aim to extend the currently operational EBRD EFSD programmes to new geographies. These are:
- The Hi-Bar Programme for the Energy Transition: €168 million guarantee allocation.
- The Municipal Infrastructure and Industrial Resilience Programme: €120 million guarantee allocation.
- The Digital Transformation Platform: €100 million guarantee allocation
- The Financial Inclusion programme: €37.5 million guarantee allocation.
In addition to these four programmes, two new EBRD programmes were approved under the EFSD+:
- The Credit Enhancement of Green Bonds programme: €65 million guarantee to support the financing of a pipeline of investable assets across selected countries of operations through the credit enhancement of bond issuances.
- The Risk Sharing and Supply Chain Financing for ESG Projects: €76.5 million to support SMEs and Midcaps in accessing finance and delivering enhanced sustainable business practices in line with ESG standards.
The European Union is EBRD’s biggest donor in the Western Balkans, with more than €700 million of contributions over the last 5 years. These funds are provided through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) and on a bilateral basis, to support EBRD’s work in developing the private sector and building sustainable infrastructure in the Western Balkan countries. EU funding in the region supports inter alia programmes aiming at increasing the competitiveness of the SME sector and improving their channels of access to finance at both national and regional level. In addition, EBRD mobilises these funds to support infrastructure and energy projects of high transition impact.
EBRD has benefitted from the WBIF since its launch as a co-operation platform uniting beneficiaries, donors and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in 2009. The WBIF supports socioeconomic development and EU accession across the region by blending technical assistance and investment grants from the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and contributions from bilateral donors with loans from IFIs. Sectors supported under the WBIF are digital, energy, environment, social, transport and private sector development.
The European Western Balkans Joint Fund (EWBJF), managed by the EBRD and the EIB, is a multi-donor fund under the WBIF and the key instrument for pooling of grants and loans within the WBIF.
Since its inception, the WBIF Steering Committee approved more than €600 million of grants for EBRD-led projects, out of which cc. €553 million will be financed by the EU.
The EBRD also manages two multi-donor, multi-agency Funds initiated by the European Union and to which the EU is the largest contributor:
The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) fund, established in 2002, pools funds from donor governments and the EU which were used as grants for priority environmental and nuclear safety projects in the Northern Dimension Area (i.e. north-west Russia and Belarus). Contributors to the Fund are the European Union, as the largest contributor, and 12 countries: Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The Fund is split into the €167 million nuclear safety window focusing on the legacy of the Soviet Northern Fleet and €182 million environmental window co-financing predominantly wastewater treatment projects to improve the ecology of the Baltic Sea. NDEP is now dormant and will be terminating end of July 2023.
The Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership fund (E5P) is a €352 million multi-donor and multi-agency fund initiated during the Swedish Presidency of the EU in 2009. E5P supports the delivery of sustainable infrastructure and municipal services across all the Eastern Partnership countries of Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. Its main purpose is to facilitate investments that reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst driving structural reforms and policy dialogue. Priority sectors include: district heating, energy efficiency measures in buildings, solid waste management and wastewater treatment. Ukraine is the largest E5P portfolio with new projects to increase war resilience and reconstruction of crucial infrastructure services. Donors pledging their support are the European Union (the largest contributor with €145 million), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund, Turkey and the United States of America. As a multi-agency fund, E5P is providing grants to municipal sector clients via the EBRD, EIB, NEFCO and CEB.
The EU is the largest donor to the EBRD-Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account with €28.7 million of contributions in the last five years. The Multi-Donor Account enables the Bank to provide support for policy reforms, which are urgently needed to stabilise the economy and improve the investment climate, helping pave the way for investment in the country. Contributors to the Ukraine MDA are: Denmark, EU, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
More recently the EU and EBRD have joint forces through a number of other financing instruments:
The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), which are jointly managed by the European Commission and the EU countries, aim to support investment in job creation and a sustainable and healthy European economy and environment. So far the EBRD has signed agreements with Cyprus and Bulgaria where ESIF funds are administered by EBRD to support local SMEs and enhance investments in the water sector, respectively.
The Technical Support Instrument (TSI) of European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support provides tailor-made assistance to all EU countries for their institutional, administrative and growth-enhancing reforms. In this context, the EBRD has partnered with the EU on over 40 projects totalling €9.5 million to help EU member states implement reforms and capacity-building programmes across the financial sector and access to finance, growth and business environment as well as governance and public administration.
Horizon Europe is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme. In 2018, the EU and EBRD agreed to work together on a pilot project aimed at helping innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and mic-cap companies in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania.
 Including funds secured for EBRD through the Infrastructure Project Facility under the Western Balkans Investment Framework and funds secured under the EFSD Guarantee.
 This amount includes funds secured for EBRD-led projects through the Infrastructure Project Facility under the Western Balkans Investment Framework.