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European Investment Bank may start working in Belarus in July

MINSK, 26 June (BelTA) – The European Investment Bank (EIB) may start working in Belarus in July, BelTA learned from Belarusian First Deputy Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi on 26 June.

The official said: “Sanctions were lifted last February and we were granted access to work with the [European Investment] Bank. In essence, it is the last key financial institution, which is not represented in Belarus. If we successfully finish the ratification process, the bank will be able to start working in Belarus in July.”

Dmitry Krutoi stressed that no other source can lend money to Belarus at such a low interest-rate for a long time. “We will get money for 1-3% per annum for 25 years with a five-year respite. The financial terms this bank offers are more comfortable than those of the World Bank and the EBRD, which have been working in Belarus for a long time and use full-fledged programs,” he said.

In 2016 the European Investment Bank lent virtually $80 billion for various projects, with about 15% of the sum borrowed by countries outside the European Union. The bank provides loans for small business projects, projects in the sphere of power engineering and transport. “These are three key spheres the bank is authorized to work in in our country. We already have a good project involving [the Minsk city water supply and treatment company] Minskvodokanal. The project costs about $145 million and provides for treating Minsk's wastewater as part of the government program Pure Water. Another major project is the M7 motorway, which goes all the way to the Lithuanian border, and provides for the reconstruction of the border checkpoint Kamenny Log. The third project involves lending to small businesses. The European Investment Bank is looking for a partner now. Belarusbank is likely to be that partner. The credit line may be large — up to $100 million,” said the official.

A framework agreement between Belarus and the European Investment Bank was ratified by the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament on 26 June.