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EU guarantee fund promises easier access to finance for Serbian SMEs

The European Investment Fund (EIF) has selected five banks (Raiffeisen, UniCredit, Banca Intesa, ProCredit and Komercialna Bank) to implement the European Union’s financing for Serbian SMEs guarantee programme.

The EIF will provide a direct guarantee enabling the selected banks to support around 1250 SME loans on favourable terms, such as reduced pricing, lower collateral or longer maturities. Over the next three years the EU contribution of 20 million euros will mobilise up to 180 million euros in the form of loans at favourable terms.

“The development of SMEs is crucial for the sustainable growth of the Serbian economy,” said Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić (pictured above). “I am grateful to the European Union, the European Investment Fund, the European Investment Bank and the local banks for their support for this project. This programme will enable entrepreneurs to further develop their businesses and strengthen the Serbian economy. It is one more element that we are adding to a set of measures, from investment in education and science to changes in key business laws and tax incentives, designed to transform the Serbian economy and enable the innovation-led growth that we need. This is an important step in harnessing the great opportunities presented to us by digitalisation.”

The Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi added: “Access to finance is often one of the obstacles for businesses in Serbia – in particular the smaller ones. This project will make them more competitive. This fund is thus not only an energiser for these businesses but for the Serbian economy.”