June 25 (Bloomberg) -- Germany pledged continued financial and technical support for improving Serbia’s infrastructure and administration as the Balkan nation prepares to start membership talks with the European Union.
Germany will set aside 208.5 million euros ($274 million) in soft loans and grants for Serbia in 2013, after providing 1.3 billion euros over the past 12 years, Anette Seidel, a director at the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, told reporters in Belgrade today.
“The funds are available immediately and will be activated for each project when it’s ready,” with a possible rollover into 2014, Seidel said. The projects cover power and water supply, waste management, financial services, loans for entrepreneurs, energy efficiency, communal heating, improvements in public administration and the rule of law.
The EU will decide on June 28 whether to set a date for starting membership talks with Serbia after its efforts to normalize ties with its breakaway Kosovo province.
Loans with maturities of as long as 15 years and grace periods of three to five years will go through Germany’s development bank, Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau, said Juergen Welschof, the bank’s representative in Serbia.
Interest rates may vary depending on projects, “typically between 2.5 and 3 percent, under the current market conditions,” he said.
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