Dubravka Negre, the head of the Regional Office of the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the Western Balkans, stated that this financial institution would soon publish a call to banks in Serbia to lend money to businesses under more favorable conditions, the guarantees for which have been provided by the European Union.
In her statement for Tanjug, Negre said that the guarantee of the European Union amounted to EUR 10 million.
– This is a guarantee scheme that we carry out as a financial institution of the European Union. We will soon publish a call to all banks in Serbia that are interested in applying, in order to be able to lend the money. We will enable them to finance businesses at lower interest rates, that is, under more favorable conditions – Negre said.
Negre, who is taking part in the Kopaonik Businss Forum, noticed that representatives of the government had talked about reducing employment among the young and pointed out that the EIB was working on it too and that the EU guarantee schemes were one way of inciting employment.
– We provide these funds through commercial banks and we try to motivate them to invest, that is, to lend money to those entrepreneurs who will secure employment or training for the young – Negre said.
She said that the EIB had pretty “wide” criteria when it comes to who is considered young, because, as she says, in this region, those above 25 are also considered young.
– We have pretty wide criteria, which would make it easier for businesses to hire them – she pointed out.
Regarding the pessimistic projections that Serbia will need a lot of time to reach the EU standards, Negre says that “everyone should focus on what they can do in order to make projections more optimistic”.
She pointed out that capital investments, currently at 4% of the budget, should increase. This percentage, she says, is an improvement, but less developed countries need to have it at 6 to 8% in order to catch up with more developed countries.
Negre reminded that the EIB was one of the biggest financial supporters of Serbia and that over EUR 5.5 billion had been invested since 2001.