The European Investment Bank (EIB) invested €507 million in various projects in Croatia in 2018, the bank said on Tuesday, adding that transport, energy, social sectors, and infrastructure were the key areas of its investments in the country.
During the same period, the European Investment Fund (EIF), an EU agency providing funding to small and medium-sized businesses, invested another €63 million in more than 260 Croatian companies, helping sustaining nearly 3,400 jobs.
EIB is the main lending institution of the European Union owned by its member countries.
“The EIB Group is proud to have continued to serve the Croatian citizens and Croatian economy throughout 2018. We have invested over half a billion of euros in vital infrastructure, energy, new jobs for Croatian citizens, SMEs and mid-caps. We would not be able to do that without the support from our colleagues and partners in the Croatian Government, (Croatian investment bank) HBOR and our dedicated EIB team both in Luxembourg and Zagreb,” EIB Vice-President, Dario Scannapieco, said.
In addition, in 2018 EIB signed €196.5 million of new investments under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) - a €21 billion EU-wide guarantee programme introduced by the so-called Juncker Plan. This has brought the total amount of investments related to EFSI approvals in Croatia close to €1 billion.
European Commission and the EIB launched the Juncker Plan in 2015 to help attract public and private investments into projects by taking on a higher risk than what is usually approved for EIB lending.
EIB's lending in Croatia reached €444 million through six projects implemented throughout the country, which include investments in the services sector and tourism infrastructure, green energy projects in Zagreb, composite infrastructure, as well as the Rimac Automobili company, an innovative tech company which specialises in developing systems for electric cars.
The bank said that the loan will allow Rimac to further develop its electric driving technologies and help it become an "industrial-scale producer" of components for the global car industry.
The bank also said that in 2018 Croatia received €300 million from the EIB in the second, and final, portion of a €600 million loan designed to speed up the implementation and ensure the success of various Cohesion Policy projects in the country.
Croatia is currently using the EIB loan for its national contributions in EU-funded projects, with the option to use financing to pre-finance projects.
On the other hand, the bank said, in 2018 EIB received a €500,000 contribution from Croatia for its Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) programme which supports job creation and infrastructure investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other Western Balkan countries.