February the 28th, 2021 – The European Investment Bank Group enjoyed a record year in Croatia last year despite the economic woes caused by the pandemic, the unstable situation and the restrictive epidemiological measures introduced.
As Marina Klepo/Novac writes, the European Investment Bank Group had a decent 2020, securing 530 million euros in loans, equity and guarantees. The European Investment Bank invested a massive 342.5 million euros, and the European Investment Fund, the second component of the group, invested 187.9 million euros.
”Responding to the economic crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, small and medium-sized Croatian enterprises have been provided with key financial support to preserve jobs and boost the Croatian economy,” said Dario Scannapieco, the EIB’s vice president in charge of business in Croatia,.
“Together with our partners, we’ve opened up new sources of financing and helped launch the first venture capital funds in Croatia. These activities have modernised Croatian financial markets and increased the ability of domestic financial institutions to stimulate economic recovery and development,” added Scannapieco, presenting the results of the European Investment Bank Group in Croatia.
He added that the EIB was “looking forward” to further co-operation with the Croatian Government, as well as with the Croatian private and public sectors, in order to seize the multibillion-euro investment opportunities stemming from the EU-wide coronavirus pandemic recovery programme with the simultaneous implementation of initiatives and action programmes in the field of a sustainable and circular economy.
“We must make sure that Croatia benefits from these projects as much as possible, and that it recovers and continues with its sustainable economic and social development,” Scannapieco said.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, the group said the EIB set aside approximately 180 million euros for Croatia last year, and that the group is still working with its partners in the country to repurpose and expand existing loans to SMEs and other companies to support the most affected businesses and enterprises.
“In partnership with Croatian financial institutions, new deals are being considered to make new sources of funds available to SMEs and medium-sized companies from key sectors of the Croatian economy,” they said from the European Investment Bank Group. Minister of Finance Zdravko Maric recalled that 2020 was a very challenging year for the economy, and that the government, together with European Union and other international partners, reacted with a sense of urgency.
“The European Investment Bank Group has made a significant contribution to responding to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Croatia. By supporting SMEs and other enteprises through domestic financial intermediaries, the EIB has helped to meet current liquidity needs in a time of difficulty that hasn’t been experienced in a long time. In addition to emergency support, assistance has been immediately provided for ongoing investment projects to enable their continuation,” Maric explained.
As increased uncertainty will continue in the coming period, he expressed satisfaction that the European Investment Bank Group is helping to recover as well as meet long-term investment needs. He believes that the EU bank “will play an important role in overcoming future challenges in Croatia.”
Within six deals contracted in 2020 to support domestic SMEs, EIB loans reached a massive 342.5 million euros, and more than 70 percent of that amount, or 245.5 million euros, was secured in cooperation with HBOR. The remaining 97 million euros was placed with Croatian commercial banks through domestic companies. Thanks to these activities, since the beginning of operations in Croatia, the total investments of the EIB have reached a huge 7.06 billion euros.