BELGRADE, June 30 (Reuters) – Serbia on Wednesday borrowed 200 million euros ($ 237 million) from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and will use the money to help small and medium-sized businesses recover from the crisis. COVID-19 crisis, the lender said.
The loan is part of a larger EU financial plan worth € 1.7 billion that was approved last year to help the recovery of the Western Balkans, a region made up of Serbia , Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and North Macedonia.
So far, the EIB, which is Europe’s largest development bank and owned by EU member states, has provided EUR 380 million to Serbia from this package, including the loan Wednesday.
“The loan will help protect more than 47,000 jobs, while creating 5,500 new job opportunities,” the bank said.
This year and last, Serbia, a candidate for EU membership, allocated around € 8 billion or 17.4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in grants and payments to businesses and citizens for help them overcome the pandemic.
The Serbian economy is expected to grow 6% this year, after contracting 1.1% in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund.
$ 1 = 0.8437 euros Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Pravin Char