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19. February 2010.
EBRD Director for Serbia Hildegard Gacek said that she expects the bank’s board of directors to make a decision on the Gazela Bridge loan by mid-March.
“We are aware of the urgency of this project,” Gacek said at a press conference.
Officials of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are finishing a report which will be presented to the board of directors before the decision is made, Gacek said.
Officials of the EBRD and European Investment Bank (EIB) visited locations in Serbia in which displaced Roma families live. These families lived under the Gazela Bridge earlier.
Infrastructure Minister Milutin Mrkonjić said earlier that it is Serbia’s obligation to take care of all 45 of the families that are displaced in various cities and towns in Serbia in order to receive the credit needed for reconstructing the bridge.
He said that the Roma must be helped to find employment and create relatively good conditions compared to all other citizens in these communities.
He explained that the reports from the EBRD and EIB regarding the displaced Roma that lived under the bridge will determine whether Serbia will receive EUR 182mn for the Gazela Bridge and various other infrastructure projects in and around Belgrade.
The EIB approved a loan of EUR 33mn for the reconstruction of the Gazela Bridge back in 2007, but these funds are currently blocked.