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Dec 21, 2009 14:27 EEST
BELGRADE (Serbia), December 21 (SeeNews) – The European Investment Bank (EIB) said it has signed a 70 million euro ($100.4 million) first tranche of its 160 million euro approved loan to the city of Belgrade for the construction of access roads to the new bridge over the Sava river.
The EIB has also lent 45 million euro to the Serbian units of Erste Bank and Piraeus Bank to finance indirectly small and medum-sized projects promoted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local authorities in Serbia.
“This loan to the City of Belgrade is the first time EIB funds are provided directly to a city in the Western Balkans. This loan will help improve the transport infrastructure in the capital of Serbia in terms of capacity, safety and environmental impact,” EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco, responsible for lending operations in Serbia, said in a statement issued on Friday.
“The EIB loans to Erste Bank and to Piraeus Bank will help reduce the impact of the global economic crisis in Serbia by improving the access of SMEs and local authorities to medium and long-term funds on advantageous financial terms,” the statement said. Erste Bank has received 25 million euro from the EIB while Piraeus Bank has received 20 million euro.
The Sava Bridge project is co-financed with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) under the Western Balkans Investment Framework, which pools and coordinates different sources of finance with grants for projects considered a priority for the Western Balkans. The new cable-stayed bridge will provide and additional crossing point for traffic between Belgrade’s neighbourhood of Novi Beograd and the city’s central areas.
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