CEI Fund at the EBRD
In 1992 the Italian Government established the Central European Initiative (CEI) Fund at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). With this Agreement with the EBRD, the Italian Government acknowledged the great opportunity the newly created development bank presented for the objectives of the CEI at its foundation in 1989. The CEI Fund at the EBRD was created “to assist the Bank’s countries of operation in central and eastern Europe in their economic and social transformation process.”
The Office for the CEI Fund at the EBRD was established to manage the Fund and carry out activities of pre-investment and capacity building for the identification, promotion and appraisal of projects in the CEI region as well as activities related to project implementation.
Since its inception Italy has allocated to the Fund 41.5 million EUR mainly for Technical Cooperation offered as grant-type assistance in support of specific components of EBRD projects. Technical Cooperation can materialise in investment generation, pre-investment, implementation or capacity building. For example, CEI funds can be used for feasibility and pre-feasibility studies, pre-loan audits, management training programmes, sector and environmental studies, etc. Since its inception, the CEI Fund at the EBRD has provided more than 24 million EUR for over 140 Technical Cooperation assignments.
Another factor, which strengthens the synergies achieved with the establishment of the CEI Fund at the EBRD, is the sector-based spread of the CEI activities, in the fileld of agriculture, energy, enterprise development, municipal development, transport, and general development. These are “TC-intense” fields and support some of the Bank’s top priorities in the region.
Equally, the CEI Fund at the EBRD has also played an active role in fighting the obstacles faced by the CEI Member States in their transition to market economies and European values. The Fund's leading tool in this endevour has been the Know-how Exchange Programme (KEP), a grant facility supporting transfer of good practices and transition experience and know-how from CEI EU and to non-EU countries. Since its inception in 2004, the Programme has supported 80 projects with a cumulative CEI commitment of over 2.2 million EUR. The overall value (including all financing partners’ contributions) of the CEI co-financed KEP assignments is around 12 million EUR.
The operational strategies of the CEI Fund at the EBRD are in line with the CEI Plan of Action 2014-2016, the EBRD country and sector strategies as well as the ones of the other International Development Banks operating in the CEI region. The continuous cooperation with these institutions remains a feature of the CEI Fund’s strategic approach.