The Annual Report 2016 of the CEI Fund at the EBRD contributed by Italy was presented during the CEI Steering Committee Meeting at the EBRD Headquarters in London on 6 April 2017. Guido Paolucci, Programme Manager at the Office for the CEI Fund at the EBRD, briefly introduced the main elements of the report.
 
According to the document, in 2016, the CEI Fund at the EBRD committed more than 1.5 million EUR for nine Technical Cooperation projects. This support is primarily intended to contribute to the preparation and implementation of the EBRD’s investment operations and is traditionally offered in the form of grant-type assistance for pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, project implementation, and pre-loan audits. These projects approved in 2016 are expected to generate investments of more than €400 million in the region in strategic sectors, e.g. energy, transport, institutional development and finance.
 
The Fund also committed 200,000 EUR for six projects in the framework of the CEI Know-how Exchange Programme (KEP), a development instrument aimed at supporting the transfer of experience from institutions in the EU to peers in the non-EU countries within the CEI region.
 
On the occasion of the gathering held in London, the recent developments in the CEI-EBRD cooperation were reviewed by representatives of the CEI Member States. Particular emphasis was put on sectors such as transport and energy efficacy where the support of the CEI Fund at the EBRD and its impact in the countries of operations were praised by both the EBRD experts and Member States officials.
 
Furthermore, additional commitments for 2017 were approved with an allocation of over 1.6 million EUR for projects to be selected during the year.
 
“Italy is currently holding the Presidency of the “Berlin Process” and will be hosting, on 12 July, 2017, the Western Balkans Summit in Trieste. We consider this event an important opportunity for the countries of the Region to advance in their European integration path; at the same time it will enhance their cooperation at regional level. Within this framework, it is ever more important to foster the connectivity sector - a field of intervention where the CEI Fund at the EBRD is already very active” stated Giuseppe Cavagna, Italian CEI National Coordinator, Head of the Adriatic and Balkans Unit at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. “Such a dimension is pivotal in order to favour progress for filling the current gaps among countries, especially in the Western Balkans region, with the aim to move the non-EU CEI countries closer to the European Union, while building better connections among themselves” Cavagna added.