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24 Jul 2019

Call on EIB to expand financial operations in Belarus

Call on EIB to expand financial operations in Belarus

MINSK, 24 July (BelTA) - The government hopes that the European Investment Bank will expand the list of areas for financing in Belarus, Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said as he met with EIB Vice President Vazil Hudak, BelTA has learned.

“I would like to reaffirm our willingness to build up cooperation in a number of sectors: energy efficiency, railway capacity building, housing, healthcare. We have many areas that fall under the EIB's mandate for work in Belarus. We could begin working on new projects,” Sergei Rumas said.

For example, work is already underway on a sustainable energy project. “We are grateful to the EIB for choosing it as a working project and we hope that we will be able to sign the agreement in the near future (as I has been informed it may happen by the end of the year),” the prime minister said.

The European Investment Bank signed the first agreements with Belarus in November 2018. Those were the €50 million loan agreement to support small and medium enterprises with Belagroprombank and the €25 million loan agreement with Belarusbank, and the €85 million loan agreement to rehabilitate and modernize the Minsk wastewater treatment plant. According to Sergei Rumas,the funds earmarked by the bank were successfully utilized within a short period of time. The EIB has confirmed the possibility of providing additional funding to two state-owned banks.

“We are interested in expanding our cooperation and view the European Investment Bank as a reliable and strategic partner. Our joint work will help contribute to the social and economic development of the country,” Sergei Rumas.

Vazil Hudak, for his part, said that the EIB president is planning to visit Belarus. According to him, the European Union sees Belarus as part of the European family. “For us it is very important that Belarus is actively involved in the Bank's activities,” the EIB vice president noted. “Being part of the Eastern Partnership Belarus is a very important country, which has a huge potential, both human, economic, and social. We would like to develop projects inside these frameworks,” he said.

Following the meeting the Belarusian government and the EIB signed two new agreements. Thus the project “Transport connection” will receive €110 million in funding. It provides for the upgrade of Motorway M7 Minsk-Lithuanian border. The project to improve the efficiency and quality of utility services will receive €66 million. The funds will be spent on the renovation and construction of water supply and wastewater disposal facilities.

The EIB is one of the world's largest multilateral investment banks. Founded in 1958, the bank is headquartered in Luxembourg. The equity capital is formed by 28 countries, the European Union members. About 90% of the EIB projects are implemented within the EU, 10% outside its borders.

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