EIB reaffirms its support to UfM projects
Cooperation between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) will reflect the new priorities following the Arab Spring, notably job creation and an improvement in social and economic conditions across the region, according to a press release issued after a meeting last week between UfM Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi and EIB President Werner Hoyer. It was Mr Sijilmassi's first visit to the EIB in Luxembourg.
In line with the EIB operational plan to provide €2.3 billion to the Mediterranean partner countries between 2012 and 2013, Werner Hoyer confirmed that the Bank would support UfM related priorities. In a first phase, the Bank could provide €500 million to support mature UfM projects that comply with the economic, financial and environmental criteria of the EIB. Between 2009 and 2011, the EIB signed €5.2 billion worth of projects with Mediterranean partner countries, with more than half of the amount dedicated to UfM related priorities (€2.8 billion).
"Mediterranean partner countries are undergoing fundamental changes", President Hoyer said. “The people in many of these countries did not only stand up for democracy but also for food and prosperity. The role of the EIB is to encourage them to modernise and open up their economies by supporting private sector development and creating an investment-friendly environment – just as we are following this path within the European Union. This is the purpose of our already fruitful cooperation with the UfM and I look forward to developing a pipeline of new bankable projects for the Mediterranean together with the Commission and international and bilateral financial institutions," he added.
UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi said the EIB was "a major partner of the UfM as illustrated in the excellent collaboration developed in the framework of our joint Memorandum of Understanding. By working hand in hand with the EIB, the European Commission and the European External Action Service, we expect to achieve concrete results in the near future through the promotion of flagship projects that create jobs and impact the day to day life of women and men in the region. My visit today to the EIB confirms our readiness to step-up this partnership and drive projects that can unleash the region’s potential as a reservoir for growth”.
The EIB and UfM are also collaborating on the development of a pipeline of new bankable projects, together with the European Commission and international and bilateral financing institutions. These project preparation schemes are expected to generate a volume of additional projects amounting to over €1.2 billion.
Current schemes are available in the areas of renewable energy under the Mediterranean Solar Plan and Water De-pollution (Horizon 2020) and could be extended to sustainable urban development and other sectors. Provision of grants from the European Commission to design bankable projects through feasibility and pre-feasibility studies is expected to facilitate their financing by international and bilateral financing institutions. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
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