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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article29 February 2024Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations2 min read

EU and EBRD boost support for financial inclusion

€52.5 million in guarantees to support small businesses in Western Balkans and Türkiye

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  • EBRD and EU sign new guarantee agreement
  • New funds to underpin joint commitment to build inclusive economies
  • Additional support will be provided for earthquake-affected regions in Türkiye

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are boosting their support for underserved micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across the Western Balkans and Türkiye.

A financial guarantee of up to €52.5 million will help partner financial institutions on-lend to MSMEs – in particular, women- or youth-led enterprises, those located in rural areas and, in Türkiye, in earthquake-affected regions. The guarantee is expected to mobilise at least €400 million in EBRD and private-sector financing.

The financing is specifically targeted at these groups to help them build competitive businesses and develop to their full potential. This, in turn, will strengthen and diversify private-sector activity and contribute to more inclusive economies in the Western Balkans and Türkiye.

The EU is providing the guarantee through its European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) guarantee programme, which supports financing and investment operations in partner countries outside of Europe.

Ines Rocha, EBRD Managing Director for Impact and Partnerships, said: “I am delighted to sign this new guarantee agreement, which will benefit those who need our help the most. Together with our key partner, the EU, we are continuing to deliver on our common goal of improving lives, businesses and economies across our regions.”

Mathieu Bousquet, DG NEAR Director for Thematic Support, Coordination of Policy and Financial Instruments said: “We are joining forces with EBRD to support sustainable investment in the Neighbourhood and Enlargement countries. With this guarantee, lending to small companies, women and young entrepreneurs, who have generally difficulties accessing finance, will be facilitated. Their innovative and impactful projects will contribute to sustainable growth and better livelihoods.”


In the period 2021-2027 the EU is channelling €22.5 billion through the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) in the form of blending and guarantee instruments via partner International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The aim is to promote lending and investments in risky environments of the Neighbourhood and Enlargement countries. Investments are aligned with the Economic and Investment Plans (EIPs) agreed with partner countries and contribute to deliver on the three overarching global EU priorities: the Green Deal, Global Gateway, Jobs and Sustainable Growth. Investments should be sustainable from environmental, social and governance viewpoints, and preferably target vulnerable population groups and fragile countries.