The FINANCIAL — The European Commission is contributing an additional €295.04 million to the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) this year to enable more than €3 billion in investments. The NIF supports investments in transport, energy and environment infrastructure, as well as the social and private sectors in Neighbourhood partner countries.
“A flourishing economy across the neighbourhood is essential to reach our shared objectives of stability and prosperity,” stressed EU Neighbourhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn. “A well-functioning private sector is critical to achieving strong and sustainable growth, creating the level of employment that is so much needed across the region.”
The decision allocates €85 million of NIF resources to help SMEs benefit from opportunities offered by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements signed with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine as well as stimulating woman entrepreneurship in the Eastern Partnership, according to EU Neighbourhood Info Centre.
Officially launched in May 2008, the Neighbourhood Investment Facility is an innovative financial instrument of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), whose primary objective is to finance with a mix of grants and loans key infrastructure projects in the transport, energy, social and environment sectors, as well as to support private sector development (in particular SMEs) in the Neighbourhood Region.
Given the considerable resources required to finance and implement large infrastructure projects, the NIF aims to create a partnership, pooling together grant resources from the EU Budget and the EU Member States and using them to leverage loans from European Finance Institutions as well as contributions from the ENP partner countries. To receive a grant contribution from the NIF, a project must be financed by an eligible European Finance Institution.