Source: B92 | Tuesday, 31.05.2016.| 13:33
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A billion euro line of credit for the Western Balkans – Serbia on the new Chinese Silk Road

Serbia is now on the “new silk road” and may profit significantly from the project which is being carried out by Beijing, as China's role in the Balkans keeps getting more and more important.

Chinese and European banks reached an agreement on joint investments last week in Trieste. The Western Balkans will receive a line of credit worth a billion euros.

If you can't beat the Chinese, join them. European bankers are now adopting this saying too. This is how things will be done in the future: If the Chinese are building a Belgrade-Budapest railway line, the Europeans are prepared to support local manufacturers with loans for buying equipment, financing the works and current financial needs.

- Our mission is to support the exporters and local companies from the countries within which the project is being carried out. We will remain nearby and offer lines of credit within the Silk Road. This means that, if the projects which will be carried out together with the Chinese ones are good, we are ready to give out loans – stated Ignacio Jacquotot of Intesa Sanpaolo bank.

Serbia, which has already built a bridge over Danube in cooperation with Chinese partners and is building a new block at the thermal power station Kostolac, as well as a highway from Obrenovac to Ub, might gain the most from the European investment of a billion euros to support Chinese projects.

- What matters now is that small and medium enterprises will be able to renew the equipment, buy new equipment or get money for an investment. The maturity will be 10-15 years. Which projects can be given 15-year loans is a matter of estimation – explains Draginja Djuric of Banka Intesa.

In the past, European bankers were trying to push out the Chinese investments. When the Serbian Government was negotiating with the Chinese company Sandong Hi Speed Group in 2013 about building a highway in Corridor 11, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport protested. The situation has changed since the Chinese invested a large sum of money in the countries of the Western Europe.

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