Paris – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) today approved five new loans totaling almost €1.2 billion. Most of the funds are intended to help refugees and displaced people from Ukraine, while the rest will support environmental protection and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Europe.
“The Ukrainian refugee crisis is putting a strain on our member states and we are working to help them overcome this huge challenge,” said CEB Governor Carlo Monticelli. “At the same time, we are not losing sight of other key areas where our stakeholders need help, such as job creation, economic growth and environmental protection.”
The CEB’s €200 million loan to the Czech Republic will help the government deal with the humanitarian emergency triggered by the massive influx of displaced people from Ukraine. The loan will finance initial humanitarian aid, housing allowances and the hiring of temporary staff recruited to provide reception. The main objective of the loan is to enable Ukrainian refugees to adapt to Czech society by gaining access to stable housing, employment, education, health care and social services.
The Bank will also support Italy’s efforts to manage the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, in particular the emergency assistance and the measures implemented by the Italian Department of Civil Protection both in the country and abroad. The 330 million euro loan from the CEB will co-finance reception, health and social assistance services, as well as the subsistence of people arriving on Italian soil. In addition, it will cover part of the immediate emergency services, goods and health aid that Italy has provided to the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, including emergency kits and humanitarian goods delivered to Ukraine.
Finally, the largest loan ever granted by the CEB – 450 million euros – will partly finance the “Help Fund”, set up by the Polish government to reimburse emergency and social assistance costs incurred by entities on the front line of assistance to displaced persons from Ukraine. These include government ministries, municipalities and civil society organizations. Temporary assistance to displaced people will be provided through several mechanisms, including direct support, community and individual support, and partnership with civil society. The focus will be on covering the costs of one-time subsistence allowances and housing allowances, subsistence allowances and monthly allowances for children.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the CEB will facilitate access to finance for micro-enterprises and private households, mainly those headed by women. Its €4 million loan to the Mi-Bospo Microcredit Foundation will fund microcredit loans and thus help eligible beneficiaries engage in income-generating activities, become self-employed, and start or expand micro-enterprises. The project will also support housing micro-credits for home improvement.
In Spain, the CEB’s €200 million loan will co-finance Banco Santander’s lending activity for renewable energy projects. These investments are in line with the Spanish government’s commitment to achieve emissions neutrality by 2050, improve the country’s energy mix and reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels. The project is also aligned with the Versailles Declaration, which calls on European Union member states to accelerate the development of renewable energy projects and the transition to clean energy. Building renewable energy plants will create jobs, stimulate economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.