ERI creates jobs and economic growth in the region by investing in key infrastructure and in private sector development. It also may help migration flows.
ERI offers a package of loans and innovative financial products, while blending funds from the donor community with EIB financing. The initiative is implemented in close cooperation with EU countries, the European Commission and other partners. Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom were the first countries to contribute to ERI.
The EU, working together
The Economic Resilience Initiative forms part of the joined up EU response to the challenges posed by forced displacement and migration, and is implemented in close cooperation with EU member states, the European Commission, donors and other partners.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom have all made vital contributions to the Economic Resilience Initiative.
To make a difference in the partner countries, the EIB is building on over three decades of experience supporting investment projects in the region. Given the urgency and importance for the EU, the EIB has started stepping up its support to the two regions in late 2016 as part of its own commitment to the Economic Resilience Initiative. With the arrival of the first donor contributions towards the end of 2017, the Bank has also started preparations on high-impact projects, which depend on support from donor resources.
Video: Building economic resilience in Europe’s neighbourhood
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. Hereafter referred to as Kosovo.
** The EIB will start operating in Libya once it has signed a Framework Agreement with the country – currently under preparation. Following EU sanctions in November 2011, the EIB suspended all loan disbursements and technical advisory contracts for projects in Syria.
*** This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.
Projects on the ground
At a glance
What is the focus of investments?
The Economic Resilience Initiative focuses on both the public and the private sectors, to support:
- sustainable and vital infrastructure, by investing in services like clean water, energy and electricity, particularly in regions where infrastructure needs were aggravated by migration; but also for example by improving education, healthcare, local transport and urban services
- private sector growth, boosting employment opportunities, for example through more support for small businesses and micro-enterprises
The initiative also allows the EU Bank to provide additional technical assistance and advisory services to support the projects.
Have any investments been approved so far? What impact do you expect?
ERI investment is progressing: To date, 61 projects and €5.2 billion worth of financing have been signed under the initiative. Well over half of that went into private sector development. Lending through partner banks alone is set to benefit 11 800 smaller businesses and mid-caps, helping to sustain more than 221 000 jobs.
Other projects include urgently needed investments in water and waste, but also vital transport, energy and healthcare infrastructure. The operations cover Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia in the Southern Neighbourhood, as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia in the Western Balkans.
How will the Economic Resilience Initiative help address the challenges posed by migration and forced displacement?
Over two million refugees are currently hosted in the Southern Neighbourhood, while the Western Balkans have acted as one of the main migratory routes to Europe. The initiative from the EU bank, part of a joined up EU effort, will help to tackle the root causes of migration and contribute to sustainable development by supporting projects with high social and environmental returns. In line with the Bank’s existing activities, investments will strive to generate employment opportunities for young people and women, and support climate action.
In practice, developing economic resilience in host and transit countries means creating jobs and building the infrastructure needed for the local population as well as displaced population. Refugee communities may also benefit, providing them with opportunities to build their self-reliance and live in dignity.
Furthermore, the investments in economic resilience will contribute to improve the preparedness of the regions for future external shocks, and ideally also contribute to enhanced stability in fragile countries.
How does the Economic Resilience Initiative fit into the EU’s efforts to deal with the challenges posed by migration and forced displacement?
The European Union’s External Investment Plan, agreed in mid-2017, is a new approach to the way the EU supports sustainable development and aims to identify, prepare and deliver support for investment projects in Africa and EU Neighbourhood countries.
The Economic Resilience Initiative by the EIB is complementary to the EU External Investment Plan. Ensuring close coordination and complementary with EU initiatives is a key priority. In fact, given the EIB's important role in the EIP, we can ensure the two work hand-in-hand. ERI is part of Europe's joined up response to the migration and refugee crisis, with a focus on tackling the longer-term causes of migration. The EIB will continue to use the blending support offered through the EIP and will be one of the implementing partners for the new EU guarantee offered through the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD).
What will the EIB need to carry out this ambitious plan?
In order to implement the Economic Resilience Initiative to its full extent, the EIB needs:
- adequate EU guarantee support to cover both political and commercial risks of the EIB lending operations in the eligible countries of the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkan regions
- donor resources, to be used for technical assistance, investment grants and other forms of concessional finance, as well as impact finance
Contributing to the Economic Resilience Initiative
In order to address the common challenges that the EU neighbourhood is facing and to provide the concessional finance needed to implement the ambitious investments included in the Economic Resilience Initiative project pipeline, the EIB is partnering with the international donor community. Funds are held in a dedicated fund, the Economic Resilience Initiative Fund (ERIF)
By contributing to the ERIF, donors can make a direct impact on the lives of migrants and members of the local population in host and transit countries of the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkan regions.
How is fundraising for the ERI Fund advancing?
Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the UK have pledged contributions, which means that we can now use the ERI Fund resources to accelerate high-impact investments aimed at creating new opportunities and building economic resilience in the regions. They will help to improve people’s daily life and the business environment not only in communities where many migrants come from, but also in host and transit communities.
This is in addition to the financing already available, including a €90 million contribution from the EIB itself for technical assistance on getting projects off the ground.
“When people can look forward to a dignified and peaceful life in their own countries and are protected from conflicts and natural disasters, they have every incentive to build their future where they really feel at home.”
Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB