Some days ago,, Mr Anton Rop, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Kosovo*’s Finance Minister, Mr Besim Beqaj, signed a Framework Agreement governing future EIB activities in Kosovo*, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Kosovo*, Mr Hashim Thaçi, and the Head of the EU Office in Kosovo* / EUSR, Mr Samuel Žbogar.
EIB Vice-President Anton Rop commented: “This Framework Agreement will enable the EIB to extend its financing to projects which are significant for the development of Kosovo*’s competitiveness. It is an expression of the willingness of the European Union to support the development of Kosovo* by giving it a clear European perspective.”
The Framework Agreement will allow the Bank to proceed with the financing of projects in Kosovo*, particularly in the areas of the environment, transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure, and provide technical assistance focused on the preparation and financing of priority projects which are important for the development of Kosovo*. The EIB’s involvement will also facilitate the co-financing of projects with other donors and EU grants and support the implementation of various instruments such as the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) and the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF).
The Head of the EU Office/EUSR, Samuel Zbogar, stressed his satisfaction with the agreement reached. “Today’s signature is the result of months of hard work on both sides – the Kosovo* Government and the EIB. The return of the EIB to Kosovo* is a positive sign for foreign investors and a step towards a better life for the citizens of Kosovo*. While the implementation of the Dialogue Agreement between Serbia and Kosovo* would bring a necessary feeling of normality to the region, this Framework Agreement marks an important opportunity in the economic and social development of Kosovo*.”
The European Commission in Brussels commended the signature of the Framework Agreement. Vice-President Olli Rehn and the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said in a joint statement:
“The EU is committed to supporting the socio- economic development of Kosovo*, beyond divisions on status. The signature of today’s Framework Agreement sets the basis for good cooperation between the EIB and Kosovo* that will support the European perspective of Kosovo*. The EIB can offer significant experience, in addition to funds, that will be used in line with EU policies and in coordination with the technical advice and financial cooperation that the Commission manages through the Instrument for Pre-accession. We are particularly pleased that this agreement comes at a time when the Council is discussing the possibility of negotiating a stabilisation and association agreement. We expect that the EIB will soon be operational so that it can start to invest in infrastructure projects in Kosovo* as well as give special attention to SMEs.”
* This designation, the signature of the Framework Agreement and the operations of the EIB in Kosovo* do not affect, and are without prejudice to, the position expressed by the EU Member States on Kosovo*’s status and are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1244 and the International Court of Justice Opinion of 22 July 2010 on Kosovo*’s declaration of independence.
The EIB is the largest international financier in the Western Balkans where it has been active since 1977. Over the past ten years (2003–2012), the Bank has provided finance totalling over EUR 6.2 billion for projects involving transport, energy, health and education, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local authorities, industry and services, water and sanitation.
The signature of the Framework Agreement and the operations of the EIB in Kosovo* do not affect, and are without prejudice to, the position expressed by the EU Member States on Kosovo*’s status and are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1244 and the International Court of Justice Opinion of 22 July 2010 on Kosovo*’s declaration of independence.