The European Investment Bank (EIB) will invest €11 million to improve wastewater management and provide affordable access to water and wastewater services for more than 90 000 people in the municipality of Gjilan/Gnjilane in Kosovo. Investment from the EU bank will enable construction of a wastewater treatment plant and related sewerage network, and the revitalisation of key infrastructure in the environmental protection sector.
The investment will reduce the pollution of local water, including the risk of trans-border water contamination. New sanitary infrastructure will also improve the quality and efficiency of public health and increase municipal resilience to natural disasters such as COVID-19. The investment comes under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative, which aims to improve vital infrastructure in the Western Balkans and foster social and economic progress in the region. Supporting critical environmental infrastructure is a key part of the EU and EIB strategy for the Western Balkans.
EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco said: “We are glad to support this project that will improve living standards for thousands of people in Gjilan/Gnjilane by providing a modern and affordable wastewater management system. On a larger-scale, it will contribute to socio-economic progress and regional connections, and improve preparedness for pandemic and emergency situations. Finally, we hope this financing will bring Kosovo closer to EU environmental requirements and support the transition of the Western Balkan countries towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Besnik Beslimi, Minister of Finance and Transfer in the Republic of Kosovo, added: “The Kosovo Government intends to finance in the medium term the transformation of the wastewater sector in order to improve the quality of life of its citizens and protect the environment for the future generations. We are keen on financing the wastewater projects with European Investment Bank as a partner that has a long track record and reputation for financing water projects. The Gjilan/Gnjilane project signed today and the project of Mitrovica that is going to be signed later this year are in accordance with our Water Strategy.”
“Kosovo’s lack of facilities for treating sewage, urbanization and development often result in contaminated rivers and groundwater due to discharge of sewage without treatment and disposal of solid waste into them,” said Nataliya Apostolova, Head of the EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative. “For this reason, the EU has decided to help Kosovo meet the cost of installing wastewater treatment plants and ensuring their efficient operation. One such intervention is our grant support through the Western Balkans Investment Framework for construction of the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Gjilan/Gnjilane, which we believe will significantly improve the water quality for the people in the region.”
The project is co-financed by EBRD (€10 million). In addition, the project will benefit from a €3.1 million EU grant from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) to support project preparation and implementation.