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18th WBIF Steering Committee Meeting, Paris, 18-19 June 2018

18-19 June 2018: More than 80 participants from the European Commission (DG NEAR, DG CONNECT), WBIF financing institutions (EIB, EBRD, CEB, KfW, WBG) and Bilateral Donors, as well as the Energy Community Secretariat and Western Balkans beneficiaries attended the 18th WBIF Steering Committee meeting. The meeting was chaired by the European Commission and France as the current Bilateral Donor Co-chair.

DG NEAR’s Deputy Director General Katarína Mathernová updated participants on the Western Balkans strategy and enlargement package and initiated an open discussion on the future, including the strategic role of the WBIF. Further plenary talks focused on: the anticipated Western Balkans guarantee instrument initiated by the European Commission; Chinese investments in the Western Balkans; the role of the WBIF in the development of the SMEs, particularly through innovative financing schemes; and on youth employment and human capital development initiatives currently in place with WBIF financing institutions. A session dedicated to digital infrastructure developments and opportunities in the Western Balkans was also part of the agenda, with presentations delivered by DG CONNECT and the World Bank. 

Agence Française de Développement (AFD) reiterated their wish to join the WBIF as a participating and eventually a full partner organisation. A concrete set of actions will follow for this purpose so that the AFD could be formally welcomed into the WBIF at the next SC meeting, scheduled for December this year in Luxembourg.

The SC approved 11 technical assistance grant applications

More details (individual presentations) can be found here.