To unlock the potential for faster and sustainable development of Croatian municipalities and islands, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds have signed an Advisory Services agreement to support the design of an investment platform for smart cities and islands.  

EIB Vice President Vazil Hudák, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Gabrijela Zalac and President of the Management Board of the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) Tamara Perko announced the joint development of the investment platform on Thursday in Dubrovnik.

The advisory support for the establishment of the investment platform will be funded by the Advisory Hub, a joint initiative of the EIB and the European Commission, part of the Investment Plan for Europe.

“Developing smart financing solutions to support the development of the Croatian municipalities and islands is expected to contribute towards the sustainable growth of Croatia”, said Vazil Hudák, EIB Vice-President.

“The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, in co-operation with the European Investment Bank, will provide support for the development of smart islands and smart cities by stimulating private and public investments. The contracted advisory support starts in November 2018, while the inventory of projects to be identified through the investment platform for smart cities will be a basis for the programming and implementation of the ITI mechanism for cities in the post-2020 period” said Minister Zalac.

In other countries, smart cities investment platforms have financed projects like: Regeneration of an urban neibourhood (Malta); Support for urban renewal project in a revitalized power plant (Poland); Investments in muninicipal buildings, infrastructure and urban regeneration projects (Bulgaria); Support for development of eco-districts (France); Transformation of a municipal water system (Germany); or improvements of city ligths network (Lithuania).

The signature will allow the partners to focus on:

  •  awareness-raising in relation to financing opportunities available through an investment platform approach;
  •  sector analysis and analysis of investment needs and financing gaps, reviewing urban and territorial development strategies;
  •  project identification and analysis and assessment of the potential for an investment platform and
  •  the design of an investment platform.

“I am positive that HBOR will have a significant role in the implementation of this Initiative through the financing of private and public investments in the sector of Smart Islands and Smart Cities. Our experience in the financing of projects in less developed areas and our partner relationship with the Ministry and the EIB will definitely contribute to the effective implementation of the project” said HBOR`s Tamara Perko.

“For the EIB, smart city and regional investment is a way to respond efficiently to our social and territorial cohesion mandate by supporting the upgrading of local economies in a quickly evolving digital world,” Vazil Hudák said at the press briefing.

More on investment platforms:

Investment platforms are investment facilities that pool smaller and/or higher-risk projects by geographic location or sector. This helps to better share risk, make it easier to attract private investors and eventually unlock financing for individual projects. An investment platform can combine EU funds, national support and financing from private investors. The platform itself can then provide loans, guarantees and/or equity financing to the underlying projects, depending on their specific needs.

Investment platforms are very efficient tools for addressing the financing needs of smart urban investments. The EIB, through the Advisory Hub, is currently working to design the investment platforms on smart cities investments in Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. As of summer 2018, 41 investment platforms had received EIB support, including three pan-European platforms. These platforms are expected to mobilise over EUR 34.8 billion in investments.

Background information

The European Investment Advisory Hub is designed to act as a single access point to various types of advisory and technical assistance services. It supports the identification, preparation and development of investment projects across the European Union. The Hub is a partnership between the European Investment Bank Group and the European Commission as part of the Investment Plan for Europe. See more information here.

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