Tag Archives: eib

The European Union regards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the backbone of economic resilience in Armenia.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Armenia’s Central Bank signed an agreement on 18 November to support the Armenian economy. According to the agreement, EIB will provide a second €50 million loan to the Central Bank for various SME projects. The first loan, which was provided through the #EU4Business initiative,has already been disbursed.
A conference on “EU Support to Small and Medium Business in Armenia through EIB” was also held in Yerevan on 18 December. Piotr Świtalski, the EU Ambassador to Armenia, Jan Vapaavuori, the Vice President of the European Investment Bank, and Nerses Yeritsyan, the Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia all spoke at the event.

2Ambassador Świtalski highlighted the importance of SMEs for Armenia: ‘The European Union will do its utmost to help Armenia to develop further, and to build a modern and reformed economy. SMEs are the backbone of economic resilience in Armenia from our perspective. Those who have heard me before know that I sometimes quote OECD figures on the role of SMEs in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. The figures reveal the huge, yet unused, potential of SMEs – Armenia ranks last among EaP regarding SMEs. In the EU,SMEs provide for 70 percent of employment and GDP contribution. In some countries it is as much as 90 percent. Armenia lags at around 30 percent, which shows us how much work needs to be done’.

3Vice President Vapaavuori built on Ambassador Świtalski’s support for SMEs and highlighted the role of European Investment Bank:  ‘EIB is the world’s biggest public bank, directly owned by all 28 EU member states. As a public bank, our mission is not to maximise profit but to contribute to EU policy goals for economic growth within EU states and in neighbouring countries. I come from a small country, Finland, and know that, in small countries, economies are often dependent on a few sectors and big factories.  In order to create sustainable growth you need to pay attention to SMEs’.

4Deputy Chairman Yeritsyan welcomed the EU’s support to promote SME development in Armenia: ‘We have come to this conference with a concrete decision. SMEs are the basis of our economy, the only way to build a viable economy. It’s a double honour for me to be here, because I have been involved in various EU and EIB programmes since 2007. I am glad that EIB is implementing at least a dozen projects in different sectors of our economy’.

Simplified procedures, reduced waiting times, modern infrastructure and equipment, improved security – these are only a few of the many advantages that the new border-crossing point (BCP) in Bagratashen will provide to ordinary citizens of Armenia and tourists travelling from Armenia to Georgia.
14937437_1149055855148342_5298925730231118127_nThe official opening of the newly constructed Bagratashen border checkpoint took place on 4 November 2016, attended by a variety of representatives from state border management bodies, international organisations, and members of the diplomatic corps and media. Key attendees included Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, a delegation headed by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Head of Cooperation Section of the European Union Delegation in Armenia Hoa-Binh Adjemian and Head of the Regional Representation of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the South Caucasus Sebastiaen Husson de Sampigny, UN Permanent Coordinator in Armenia and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Permanent Representative in Armenia Bradley Busetto. This ceremony was organised through the EU-funded and UNDP-implemented “Modernisation of Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan Border Crossing Points of Armenia” (MBBG) project. After the opening, participants toured the facility.
The main objective of this EU-supported MBBG project has been to promote free movement of people and goods across the border, ensuring border security, improving bilateral and regional cooperation, and modernising the three checkpoints at Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan. This modernisation has been in accordance with the requirements of Armenian law, international standards and principles, as well as the principles of comprehensive border administration.
14947825_1149054925148435_7735196230274237844_nAdjemian spoke about EU border-management projects: ‘The European Union funds numerous inter-related programmes at all Armenian border posts with Georgia and Iran. We support the creation of an e-governance single window, finance physical and IT infrastructure, provide training, and ensure best practice exchange. Today, we are witnessing the impact of the European Union’s cooperation efforts in Bagratashen. Armenian citizens can now cross this border point in a faster, more secure and more efficient manner. Trade has been facilitated and will support further economic and social development, thus benefiting Armenian citizens and the entire region’.
De Sampigny commented on the EIB’s involvement in infrastructure in the region: ‘EIB supports, as the EU bank, the Armenian government’s key priority of fostering the development of crossing points between Armenia and Georgia, such as Bagratashen, to comply with increased demand for smoother flows of people, vehicles and goods in terms of quality and capacity. This new, modern infrastructure will have positive implications in the standards of everyday life of citizens, will increase security, and will improve trade across the whole region’.
BCP modernisation is expected to raise the living standards of local populations in the shorter term, i.e. through jobs created by construction, and also in the longer term, i.e. jobs to permanently man the checkpoints and other cross-border economic activities. BCP modernisation will also address additional issues surrounding communication and transportation.

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Potential gains from updated BCPs are not limited to business alone. The ability to move across borders freely and easily, and to engage in small-scale cross-border trade is vitally important to local border communities, increasing livelihood opportunities and access to services. The EU and UNDP have worked together to ensure modern and streamlined procedures and trained 700 border officials in search techniques, profiling, dealing with refugees, and fighting drug trafficking.
The EU’s affiliate European Investment Bank (EIB) has extended a 30.8 million Euro loan to the Government of Armenia for financing of the project, which was complemented by a 17.6 million Euro grant from the European Union.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan received a delegation led by the Vice President of the European Investment Bank, László Baranyay, on 16 October 2015.
Welcoming the guests, the Prime Minister stressed that the EU has been and remaines one of the most important partners of Armenia. He welcomed the fact that on 12 October the EU Council gave a mandate to the European Commission and the EU High Commissioner to start negotiations on forming a new legal framework for EU-Armenia relations, which would help to upgrade EU-Armenia cooperation.
Abrahamyan expressed a high opinion of the Armenian government’s cooperation with the EIB and the joint projects implemented in power engineering, transport communications, road rehabilitation, water infrastructure, and other sectors.
ARS_3912The EIB Vice-President said he was honoured to visit Armenia, see the results of the previously implemented projects and ongoing programmes, and discuss the prospects of future projects. Baranyay was greatly impressed with the performance of the projects in Armenia, and assured those present that the EIB was ready to continue assisting the country in both technical and financial matters.
Welcoming the Prime Minister’s proposal to continue cooperation infrastructure development, Baranyay said that there was a need to increase funding, and that the EIB was ready to increase the amount of assistance required. Priority projects identified were road network improvement, water infrastructure, water management facilities, and education.
Abrahamyan stated that the Armenian government would ensure that all the agreements reached would be implemented. In conclusion, the interlocutors reaffirmed their willingness to build on the ongoing effective cooperation. The Prime Minister’s meeting with the EIB Vice President was followed by signing ceremony for cooperation agreements.
The parties first signed a €8 million financial agreement on “Yerevan Solid Waste Management: Stage 1”. The document was signed by Minister of Finance of the Republic of Armenia, Gagik Khachatryan, and the EIB Vice President, László Baranyay. The contract features three components aimed at improving the system of solid waste management in Yerevan.
ARS_3990A memorandum of understanding was signed next between the Government of Armenia, the Yerevan Mayor’s Office, the European Union and the EIB on cooperation on the management of solid waste.
The document was signed by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, Armen Yeritsyan, the Mayor of Yerevan, Taron Margaryan, the Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, and the EIB Vice President, László Baranyay.
Minister of Transport and Communication Gagik Beglaryan, Minister of Finance Gagik Khachatryan and EIB Vice President László Baranyay signed a declaration of intent on the investment programme for the rehabilitation and improvement of the M6 Vanadzor-Alaverdi-Georgian border highway. The signatories reaffirmed their interest in and readiness to implement this modernisation programme which will rehabilitate a 60km-long stretch of motorway from Vanadzor to Bagratashen.