The European Investment Bank Group, consisting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), provided €760 million in 2021 to the local economy in Croatia, a record investment volume in the past five years. The EIB and the EIF provided €113 million and a record high €647 million respectively.
The record high volumes of EIF operations in Croatia stem from the guarantees extended to public and commercial banks under the European Guarantee Fund (EGF). The EIB Group provided €650 million in EGF guarantees, unlocking new credit lines for Croatian companies of all sizes to help them recover from the economic effects of the pandemic, finance their urgent liquidity needs, preserve and create jobs, and continue with investments.
The EIB Group established the EGF in 2020 to support companies’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in 22 participating EU Member States, including Croatia. Since December 2020, the EIB Group has approved €23.2 billion in EGF guarantees, which are expected to mobilise €174.4 billion worth of investments, predominantly in European SMEs and mid-caps.
EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwinska, in charge of operations in Croatia, said: “The EIB has proven to be one of the most reliable partners of Croatia even in the most difficult of times. Our results for 2021 demonstrate our commitment to fuelling the social and economic development of Croatia and testify to our determination to ensure this development is long-term, sustainable, green and inclusive. I am particularly proud of our contribution to the COVID-19 recovery in Croatia. We have provided close to €700 million under our COVID-19 measures to make sure Croatian companies can continue to provide jobs and income and ensure that Croatia remains in business. I would like to thank our partners in the public and private sectors, the Government of Croatia and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) for the opportunity to make Croatia even stronger.”
EIB invests €113 million in Croatia’s energy independence and faster recovery of the Croatian economy
The EIB signed two new operations in Croatia in 2021. The EU bank invested €63 million in Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP) to support its renewable energy investment programme, a key measure to ensure faster energy independence of Croatia and the European Union. The Bank provided an additional €50 million in EGF guarantees to Hrvatska Banka za Obnovu i Razvitak (HBOR) to improve financing conditions for Croatian mid-caps and large companies.
In 2021, the EIB expanded its partnership with the Government of Croatia. The EIB signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development on the development and financing of key energy, sustainability and climate-related projects in the country. As a result, the EIB will actively support the rollout of Croatia’s National Energy and Climate Plan.
The EIB and the Government of Croatia will address investment needs in key areas such as (i) renewable electricity generation and transmission distribution infrastructure; (ii) clean energy and energy efficiency measures, and renovations and conversions of buildings; (iii) green mobility; and (iv) support for the Croatian economy’s transition to a circular economy.
EIF’s highest investment volume in history for faster COVID-19 recovery of local SMEs and mid-caps
The European Investment Fund (EIF) made history reaching its highest ever volume of operations, contributing €647 million to the local economy. The EIF provided €48 million in equity to four equity funds, including the Feelsgood Social Impact Investment Fund and the Croatian Mezzanine Debt Fund.
The largest share of the EIF’s contribution to the Croatian economy in 2021 concerns €599 million provided to public and private banks in Croatia including HBOR, OTP, UniCredit, Privredna banka Zagreb and Erste bank, in the form of EGF guarantees, making 2021 the most successful year on record for the EIF in Croatia.
Towards a research and innovation-based economy in Croatia
In 2021, the EIF, together with Croatia’s HBOR launched a new €20 million investment platform to support innovation, scientific research, and the protection of intellectual property in Croatia. The investment platform will improve the use and commercialisation of research projects and scientific achievements and reinforce the long-term competitiveness of Croatia’s economy.
Support for victims of earthquake in Banija
In immediate response to the devastating earthquake in December 2020, the EIB Group donated €255 000 from its own funds and employees’ donations to the Republic of Croatia. The EIB donation provided temporary homes to 30 families and enabled 78 people across the earthquake-devastated region to move into safe, modern container houses until their homes were renovated.
EIB Group continues as a reliable partner for the social and economic development of Croatia
Over the past ten years, the EIB has invested some €4.57 billion in Croatia. The majority of EIB investment, €3.25 billion, helped create credit lines for local SMEs and mid-caps. A further €612.5 million supported the development of social and economic infrastructure in Croatia. Between 2011 and 2021, the EIB invested over €180 million in the national transport systems, €122.5 million in the country’s energy sector, €148 million in the services sector and €93 million in the development of the national healthcare system and vital health infrastructure, including the Rijeka Clinical Centre. Other areas of the Croatian economy have also benefited from EIB investment, including industry, water and sanitation receiving over €160 million in long-term funding from the Bank.
Since 2017, the EIF has invested some €1.05 billion in equity (€222 million), guarantees (€827 million) and inclusive finance (€3 million). EIF activities in 2021 reinforced and supported faster COVID-19 recovery of Croatian SMEs and unlocked new sources of more affordable long-term financing crucial for maintaining liquidity and investment as well as job retention and creation.
EIB Advisory Services help Croatia attract new investments
In 2021, the EIB Advisory Services continued to provide valuable advisory and capacity-building support to the Government of Croatia and the country’s public and private sectors. In 2021, EIB Advisory Services had 49 active assignments in the country. The EIB Advisory Services supported the promoters in developing projects in areas such as climate and environment, energy efficiency, infrastructure, sustainable urban development, and agriculture.
Valuable support from the EIB Advisory Hub, JASPERS, ELENA and FI Compass
Since 2011, the Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS) Advisory Service alone has supported the preparation of investment projects worth €12 billion. JASPERS, set up in partnership with the European Commission, helps national authorities, cities and regions absorb EU funds via top-quality projects. JASPERS in particular provides support to the water, transport, waste, health, innovation and technology, urban and energy sectors.
European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) is working on two assignments in Croatia including support for the capital city of Zagreb to introduce an energy-efficient public lightning system. At the same time, the EIB Advisory Hub supported the European Commission’s Digital Innovation and Scale-up Initiative (DISC) by undertaking a market study in Croatia to assess the country’s level of digitalisation. The Advisory Hub also helped the Government of Croatia strengthen public research by improving technical knowledge in project preparation at public research organisations and universities.
EIB Group activities in Croatia channelled €656 million for the faster recovery of Croatia’s economy from COVID-19.