Christoph Kuhn, Chairman of the EPTATF, said: “Since its inception in 2010, the EPTATF has helped strengthen economic resilience and enhance cooperation between EaP countries. Our donors have played an instrumental role in the trust fund’s success. Thanks to our donors and their continued cooperation through the EPTATF, we hope to provide technical assistance and support regional development for many years to come.”Contributors to the EIB’s Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund (EPTATF) convened a committee meeting in the margins of the Batumi International Conference. EPTATF members approved three new Technical Assistance operations for a total of EUR 2.1m in the EaP region. This was followed by a discussion on strategic priorities for the Trust Fund for the years to come. Trust fund donors and several observers also travelled to several project sites in Georgia that have benefited from EIB financing to see the impact of operations, including those supported by the EPTATF, in the region.
EIB activities according to the EaP key priorities:
Over the last decade, the EIB has worked to develop stronger and more diversified economies in the Eastern Partnership. The Bank has been particularly active in supporting the financing needs of SMEs and microenterprises, attracting investment and creating jobs and trade opportunities. It has provided credit lines and guarantees to small businesses totalling EUR 2.7bn since 2009.
Transport is key to growth and competitiveness. The EIB finances infrastructure projects that improve connections between the Eastern Partnership region and the EU, whether these be railways, roads or waterways. Over the last ten years, the EIB has financed 25 transport infrastructure projects worth EUR 3.1bn.
The EIB also invests in energy efficiency, boosting energy resilience and supply security and stepping up the use of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our investments target not only the extension of energy connections, which help create an integrated and sustainable energy market throughout Europe, but also the more efficient use of energy, which reduces emissions and energy costs.
In addition, the EU bank has helped improve the quality of the water supply and wastewater services for communities, enabling countries to comply with national and international health and environmental regulations while also improving the local environment. Since 2009, the EIB has supported several water and sanitation projects in the region with total investment of EUR 572m.
Stronger governance, institutions and resilience
The EIB supports the efforts of EaP countries to improve their resilience to crises and shocks, while maintaining strong growth. The Bank invests in projects to raise living conditions, meet basic administrative needs and foster the economic initiatives of residents and displaced people. In Ukraine, the Bank is financing operations to rebuild the country after recent conflicts, supporting the short-term recovery and restoring basic services and key infrastructure.
The EIB has also financed projects in education. Good higher and public education infrastructure improves the teaching and learning environment and encourages research and innovation. Education is vital for developing human capital, which in turn leads to growth in incomes, productivity and employment. Our projects help bring standards for modernisation closer to those used in the EU.
In Georgia, the EIB lending commitment stands at EUR 1.8bn. Example projects include a EUR 50m loan for urban reconstruction and development to finance the repair of damage caused by the devastating floods that hit Tbilisi and the surrounding area in 2015. This project will help to restore basic services, rebuilding key infrastructure and creating the background for economic recovery.