On July 2nd, the European Commission has decided to grant an additional €85 million to the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) for 2010. This will allow neighbouring partner countries to leverage increased funding for major investment projects in key areas such as energy, transport and environment, as well as in the social sector (for projects such as construction of schools and hospitals). Private sector development will also be encouraged, targeting especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle commented: 'We are encouraged by the positive results already achieved through this instrument during the past two years. Projects supported represent total investments of close to € 8.5 billion so far. Today's decision underlines our commitment t o support our neighbours in key sectors such as environment, transport or provision of health and social services“.
Through the NIF, the Commission provides grant support for lending operations of European Development Finance Institutions in EU Neighbourhood countries. The EU Budget contribution is complemented by direct contributions from 15 Member States.
The NIF was officially launched in May 2008 in order to strengthen overall EU grant support for lending operations carried out by European multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions in ENP partner countries.
Out of the 700 million that the Commission intends to allocate to the NIF for the period of 2007 – 2013, 270 million have now been made available (€50 million approved in 2007, €50 million in 2008, €85 million in 2009 and an additional €85 million for this year). The EU Budget contribution is complemented by direct contributions from 15 Member States for a total amount of €54 million to date.