>@EIB/To be defined

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a loan of EUR 100 million to the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR - Hrvatska banka za obnovu i razvitak) to finance the projects of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), mid-cap companies and municipalities in Croatia.

The loan contract was signed in Dubrovnik following the meeting of the EIB’s Board of Directors, which took place in Croatia for the first time. The Republic of Croatia has obtained observer status in the EIB’s Board and will become an EIB shareholder when it joins the European Union.

EIB President Werner Hoyer said: “The EIB supports projects in Croatia intended to help the country to meet the EU accession criteria and integrate rapidly into the Union. The loan signed today will improve the access of Croatian SMEs and mid-cap companies to long-term financing provided on favourable terms, foster the implementation of their projects and strengthen their competitiveness”.

The EIB loan will finance the projects of SMEs and medium-sized companies in the areas of industry and services, including tourism, and also support small and medium-scale infrastructure schemes promoted by local authorities, projects in the knowledge and technology-intensive sectors and additional priorities such as energy, environmental protection, health and education. A minimum of 70% of the loan amount will be allocated to SME and mid-cap projects.

Anton Kovačev, president of Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development said: “More than 1,200 projects, financed from the funds raised, have led to the creation of thousands of new jobs, and even more significant is the fact that many existing jobs have been maintained, owing to our loans. It is essentially important that the European Investment Bank and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development continue this successful cooperation, so that we can ensure quality resources to Croatian business owners which are a precondition for the initiation of a new investment cycle.”

This loan represents a continuation of the very successful cooperation between the EIB and HBOR. The EIB has previously provided six credit lines to HBOR exceeding EUR 760 million.