What is WBIF?
The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) was established in 2009 as a joint initiative of the European Commission (EC), the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) ), while the World Bank (WB) and German Development Bank (KfW) subsequently joined.
WBIF supports EU enlargement and socio-economic development of the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, provides financing and technical assistance to the strategic investments in the following sectors: energy, environment, social development, transport, development of private sector and digital infrastructure.
The WBIF consists of the Joint Grant Facility and the Joint Lending Facility. The financial funds of the Joint Grant Facility are intended for projects supported by the loans of partner international financial institutions in priority areas of infrastructure and other areas supporting the socio-economic development.
As of today, WBIF has supported a total of 162 strategic investment projects that will contribute to economic competitiveness, growth and job creation through EUR 842 million in grants, which is equivalent to EUR 5.4 billion in signed loans.
What is the purpose of a grant?
It is important to emphasize that the grants are non-repayable funds and their purpose is to support the activities financed by loans of partner international financial institutions. Both public and private entities and the ntities with mixed public and private capital in charge of providing, managing, contracting and building public services can apply for grants. Since the construction of the Corridor Vc motorway is infrastructural, strategic and a project of international importance, and since EBRD and EIB loans are used for its construction, JP Autoceste FBiH can apply for grant funds for the projects financed by these banks.
How to apply for a grant?
WBIF grants are approved and supervised by a Board of Directors while they are prepared and are supervised by a group of project funders, and technical and logistical support is provided by the WBIF Secretariat.
The application process for a WBIF grant takes approximately 24 weeks from the date of the announcement of a call and can be explained in the following seven steps:
1. Call for applications
2. Preparing and submitting applications
3. Certificate from the leading international financial institution giving loan for the project
4. Review by the European Commission
5. Assessment by a leading international financial institution
6. Review by a group of project funders
7. Board of Directors approval
The Board of Directors of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (consisting of representatives of the European Commission, international financial institutions and Member States that director the grant funds to WBIF) decides on projects that will receive grant support. Grant applications from all beneficiary countries of the Western Balkans Investment Framework may be proposed through the National IPA Coordinator (NIPAC) or through partner international financial institutions, with the consent of NIPAC.
Following the approval of the Board of Directors, the financial institution giving a grant prepares the draft grant agreement, and such an agreement together with the loan agreement is an international agreement and undergoes the entire approval, signature and ratification procedures required by the debt and borrowing laws at the level of BiH and FBiH.
The difference between investment grants and technical assistance grants is that the technical assistance grants of JP Autoceste FBiH they receive the realization of the grant in the form of a finished project or provided supervision for construction.
How much in total so far has JP Autoceste FBiH received grants for construction, and how much for technical assistance, and for what projects?
A total of 12 grant applications, amounting EUR 153,943,153 have been approved to JP Autoceste FBiH so far. Only for one of the applications, relating to the Svilaj – Odžak section, a grant agreement has signed and ratified and the amount of EUR 19,600,833 has been withdrawn and spent. For the remaining investment grant applications, grant agreements are in preparation to be signed.
Out of the above amount, investment grants amount EUR 139,485,973 and technical assistance grants amount EUR 14,457,180.
The following table gives an accurate overview of approved applications by projects.
The data were updated in July 2019 following the last WBIF Summit in Poznan.
|Grant funds withdrawn / TA grant is being realized|
|Application is approved, the text of the grant agreement is in the process of harmonization|
|No.||Grant application||Financed by||Type of grant INV/TA||
Amont in EUR
|1||Corridor Vc (Odžak – Svilaj) border crossing and cross-border bridge||EIB/EBRD||INV +TA||
|2||Corridor Vc; construction of the section of motorway Zenica North – Žepče South, subcestion Ponirak – Donja Gračanica, part I Ponirak – Vraca (exit from the Zenica tunnel)*||EIB||INV+TA||
|3||Corridor Vc; construction of the section of the motorway Zenica North – Žepče South, subsection Ponirak – Donja Gračanica, part II Exit from the tunnel Zenica – Donja Gračanica (entrance to the Pečuj tunnel)*||EBRD||INV+TA||
|4||Corridor Vc; construction of the section of the motorway Tarčin – Konjic, subsection 1. Tarčin – Ivan, PART I. Tarčin – entrance to the Ivan tunnel||EIB||INV+TA||
|5||Corridor Vc; construction of the section of the motorway Tarčin – Konjic, subsection 1. Tarčin – Ivan, PART II: Ivan tunnel||EBRD||INV+TA||
|6||Corridor Vc; construction of the section of the motorway Mostar South – Počitelj, subsection 3. LOT 1: Buna – Počitelj||EBRD||INV+TA||
|7||Poprikuše – Nemila (Tunnel Golubinja; interchange Poprikuše to enter to the tunnel Golubinja and from exit to the tunnel Golubinja to Nemila)||INV||
|8||Entity Border – Putnikovo Brdo – Medakovo||EBRD||INV||
|9||Tarčin – Konjic, Subsection 2: Ivan – Ovčari||EBRD||TA Design||
|10||Konjic (Ovčari) – entrance to the tunnel Prenj||EIB/EBRD||TA Design||
|11||Exit from the Prenj (Salakovac) tunnel – Mostar North||EBRD||TA Design||
|12||Počitelj – Zvirovići||EIB||Supervision||
What does it take for an application to be sucessful?
In order for the application to be adopted, it must be aligned with the basic goals of WBIF: to be directed towards addressing the significant infrastructure investment needs of the Western Balkans and to contribute to the EU accession process for the beneficiary country.
As a general principle, applications for WBIF TAs and investment grants must be accurate and detailed and should also show why grants are key for the project implementation. Applications are always linked to credit funds up to a maximum of 20% of the investment value.
In addition to the above, the application must adhere to two very important principles: the value added principle and leverage. The added value of grants support is defined as the positive results that EU grants achieve beyond what could be achieved without them. Leverage: Each grant should aim to mobilize additional funding for a total investment that exceeds the size of the initial grant.
Does JP Autoceste FBiH submit reports on project progress (expenditure of funds) and to whom when?
In accordance with the loan agreements and the grant agreements, JP Autoceste FBiH is obliged to submit quarterly, semi-annual and annual project progress reports to the financial international institution with which the financing contract or the grant agreement has been concluded.