EU-Armenia: EIB, EBRD and NIF join forces to support water sector development
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing two loans totalling €30.7 million to finance improvement of water supply services and the upgrading of wastewater treatment in Armenia: €25.5 million will help rehabilitate water infrastructure in the rural communities, while €5.2 million will contribute to upgrading water supply infrastructure in Yerevan. Both programmes will also benefit from grants and technical assistance under EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) – €15 million and €5.5 million respectively.
The funds will help improve the living standards of Armenia’s citizens and contribute to accelerating the social and economic development of the country, a press release said.
The €25.5 million EIB loan will help implement over the period 2014-2018 the programme of water infrastructure rehabilitation carried out by four regional water supply companies in rural Armenia, improving water services for some 400,000 people. This programme will be co-financed with €30 million from the German development bank KfW and an EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) donation of €15 million, consisting of a €12 million investment grant and a €3 million technical assistance grant. An additional grant of €2.5 million will be provided by the German cooperation ministry (BMZ). This is the first EIB loan extended in the Eastern Neighbourhood in the framework of the Mutual Reliance Initiative (MRI) jointly developed by the EIB, KfW and the French Agency for Development (AFD).
The EIB loan of €5.2 million will support a project to be implemented during 2013-2015 focusing on improving the water supply services in Yerevan. The project will improve the reliability of the service and reduce technical and commercial losses as well as energy consumption and maintenance costs. This project will be co-financed with some €5.3 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and a NIF grant of €5.5 million.
The EIB has so far provided loans in Armenia, including the current projects, amounting to some €158 million. The Bank financed projects involving the renovation of the Yerevan metro, improving border-crossing infrastructure, rehabilitating the water sector and supporting the financing of smaller projects promoted by the SME sector. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
EU follows arrest of suspended Tbilisi Mayor, calls Georgia to respect Association Agreement commitments
The EU is following closely the arrest at Tbilisi airport on 3 July of Gigi Ugulava, the opposition’s chief campaign organiser in the ongoing municipal elections in Georgia who was earlier suspended as Mayor of Tbilisi. A statement by the spokesperson of the EU’s External Action Service recalled Prime Minister Gharibashvili’s announcement on 14 April of a moratorium on the arrest and prosecution of opposition figures during this election period.
The EU urged the Georgian authorities “to ensure that the judicial process is fully independent, transparent, and free of political influence, in line with the commitments undertaken by Georgia when it signed the Association Agreement with the European Union last week on 27 June 2014.” (EU Neighbourhood Info)
The EU will continue supporting the release of the remaining political prisoners in Belarus, the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, told Ales Bialiatski, President of the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), during their meeting in Brussels yesterday. Bialiatski’s visit to Brussels comes only ten days after his release following almost three years of imprisonment on politically motivated grounds in Belarus, a press release said.
Ales Bialiatski voiced his gratitude for the EU’s support and called for continued solidarity with Belarusian civil society. Special Representative Lambrinidis underlined “the EU’s commitment to continuing its support for the release of the remaining political prisoners in Belarus and the reinstatement of their full civil and political rights,” adding this could contribute to improving relations between the EU and Belarus. (EU Neighbourhood Info)