The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, is providing a loan of EUR 50 million to the to the state-owned Croatian Motorway Company (HAC)for the rehabilitation of the motorway along Pan-European Corridors X and Xa. The motorway links Croatia to Western Europe and provides a connection from Austria and Slovenia in the north to Greece via Serbia and FYROM in the south.

The loan was signed on December 13 by Mr. Stanko Kovac, President of the Executive Board of Croatian Motorways Ltd., and Mr Ewald Nowotny, Vice President of EIB.. In his address on the occasion of the signature, Mr. Nowotny said that the EIB is pleased to support this high-priority project which is needed to provide improved basic infrastructure for the economic development of Croatia, and important links to neighbouring countries".

The project was developed in close cooperation with the EBRD who is providing a loan of EUR 46.5 million for the same project. This is the sixth loan from EIB to the Croatian public sector which include the Rijeka-Zagreb Motorway and Croatia Air Traffic Control signed earlier this year.

Underlining its continuing support for the economic development of Croatia;, the Bank, as the financing arm of the European Union, continues to pursue the preparation of financing for a number of projects in a variety of sectors, including Air- and Sea Ports, Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment, and additional loans in the Transport and Finance sectors.

The EIB is a lead player in implementing the European Union's priority objectives. In 2001, EIB financing for projects supporting European Union policy objectives totalled EUR 37 billion (up 13% on 1999). EUR 31 billion went to projects within the EU Member States and close to EUR 3 billion to those in the Accession Countries, while lending in other countries ran to EUR 3 billion. To fund these activities, the EIB borrowed EUR 32 billion on the world's capital markets.

In South-East Europe, the EIB operates under the Mandate for Central and Eastern Europe agreed by the Council of Ministers for 2000 to 2007, which provides for EIB lending of up to EUR 9.28 billion, which complements the EU, as well as EU Member States' own bilateral co-operation policies. To underline its commitment to future post-war reconstruction in the Balkan area, the EIB played an active role in the preparation phase of the reconstruction investment programme, in cooperation with the European Commission and the other multilateral financing institutions. The list of potential infrastructure projects which was published in the Study on Basic Infrastructure Investment in South-Eastern Europe comprises a total of 85 projects totalling EUR 4 billion. Of this total, 35 projects are Quick-Start totalling EUR 1.1 billion, in which the EIB has a lead role in 14, totalling EUR 720 million, i.e. 65% of the total. 50 projects are "Near-Term", totalling some EUR 3 billion, of which EIB has a lead role in 18, amounting to some EUR 1 billion, i.e. 33% of the total Near-Term package.

In 2001 in Croatia, EIB has financed the Croatian railway and road network, as well as Global Loans with HVB Bank Croatia, HBOR, and Privredna.