Europe

EU backs financing for greener homes and businesses in North Macedonia

In order to boost investments in high-performance green technologies, materials and solutions in privately owned residential dwellings and buildings in North Macedonia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a new €5 million financing package to Sparkasse Bank Makedonija AD Skopje under the Western Balkans Green Economy Financing Facility (WB GEFF II), the bank said on July 3.

On successful completion of the projects, borrowers will be eligible for up to 20% cashback, funded by the European Union.

In addition, the EBRD is providing a €20 million unfunded risk-sharing facility to Sparkasse Bank, through which it will guarantee up to 50 per cent of the lender’s existing and new corporate exposure, thereby reducing the risk weighting and capital requirements on those loans. By freeing up funds, the facility will increase Sparkasse’s capacity to finance additional green economy projects.

Some €2 million of the GEFF II package has been allocated to Ohridska Banka, which merged with Sparkasse Bank Makedonija AD Skopje.

“We look forward to working with Sparkasse Bank in its new form. It is a proven partner of the EBRD, with an excellent track record of delivery, and we expect to continue this excellent cooperation and our mutual efforts to increase our positive impact in the country. We will continue to support investments that contribute to the green transition,” EBRD Skopje office head Andi Aranitasi said. “With the signing of this first risk-sharing facility in North Macedonia, we expect to provide a further boost to the country’s businesses by providing them with better access to finance, helping them recover from the coronavirus pandemic and improve their competitiveness.”

EU Delegation Skopje head David Geer said that by making buildings more energy efficient, the EU can contribute significantly to climate goals as well help households and businesses reduce their daily costs. “The GEFF provides financial support for such investments as well as for the increased use of renewable energy. It forms part of the EU’s wider support for the implementation of climate change goals in the Western Balkans and recovery following the economic downturn caused by the Covid 19 pandemic,” he said.

Sparkasse Bank Makedonija General Manager Gligor Bishev said his bank recognizes the advantages and benefits of financing projects to improve energy efficiency in North Macedonia and generate energy savings in the local market. “Green loans for the promotion of energy efficiency combine benefits for households, suppliers of energy-efficient technologies and environmental protection, which is the focus of our corporate social responsibility strategy,” he said.

The GEFF programme, which covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, offers finance for green economy investments in the residential sector as well as for businesses that provide energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services to households. It was recently increased to €135 million in response to growing demand.

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