Croatia to contribute EUR 500,000 for EIB's Economic Resilience Initiative
ERI supports countries in the EU’s Southern Neighborhood and Western Balkans to tackle migration and other challenges by stimulating investments in jobs creation and services like energy, transport, water, sanitation and education.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will receive EUR 500,000 contribution for its Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) from the Republic of Croatia; the contribution will support ERI job creation and infrastructure investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and/or other Western Balkan countries.
ERI supports countries in the EU's Southern Neighborhood and Western Balkans to tackle migration and other challenges by stimulating investments in jobs creation and services like energy, transport, water, sanitation and education. In doing so, the EIB initiative increases economic and social resilience of target countries and helps them to better deal with future crises and shocks, while maintaining stronger growth.
The Initiative substantially increases the EIB and the EU support to two target regions. The EIB will provide an additional EUR 6 billion of financing under ERI, expected to deliver EUR 15 billion of new investments by 2020. Many of these priority investments will be in sectors and with clients, the Bank had previously found difficult to serve, for example, because of the higher-risk nature of the operations, despite high socio-economic returns.
To date, EIB approved 36 projects under the Initiative, representing financing of some EUR 3.7 billion. A bit more than half of that went into private sector development. More than 3,000 loans are provided to smaller businesses and midcaps in target countries, helping them to sustain 160,000 jobs via small businesses and midcaps alone.
With the support from the EU Member States, the ERI offers additional concessional finance, enhanced support to the private sector and impact finance for these regions up to 2020. To date, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and Slovenia pledged together close to EUR 130 million for ERI.
EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco said: "EIB is happy with the positive response from the EU member states on our Economic Resilience Initiative. This is a true sign of European solidarity with our neighbours. With member state support, we will help increase resilience and tackle migration-related issues, strengthen people, economies and improve infrastructure in countries to prepare for future crises and shocks. We will act where and when it really matters and help our neighbours and the EU in areas that matter the most for the people – jobs, economic security, education, health or access to clean water."
Minister of Finance of the Republic of Croatia Zdravko Marić said: "Croatia is among the first EU Member States to sign a Contribution Agreement for the European Investment Bank's Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) Fund. Our contribution to the Economic Resilience Initiative is a clear signal of Croatia`s commitment to the faster development of the region and our readiness to work together in the European family and join resources with our European partners to help mitigate negative effects of the migrant crisis. The Republic of Croatia deems important to back the Economic Resilience Initiative with the purpose of alleviating migratory pressures in transit countries. ERI funds will be invested in water supply, energy, education, health and sanitation, urban infrastructure, as well as SME support in order to enhance employment opportunities and social inclusion - all of which are the goals promoted by Croatia in the international development community. The countries eligible under ERI are especially important as neighbouring countries and are also highly positioned among the priorities of Croatia's development cooperation strategy."
About the European Investment Bank (EIB):
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond. The European Investment Bank is active in around 160 countries
EIB in Croatia:
EIB lending commitments in Croatia since the start of the Bank's activity in the country in 2001 have now reached EUR 4.5 billion. EIB operations cover important sectors of Croatia's economy, including transport, the environment, energy infrastructure, manufacturing and services. Another key component of the Bank's activity in Croatia is the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by increasing SME access to long-term financing through local financial institutions.
The EIB's Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) was requested by the 28 EU member states in 2016 as a part of the EU response to the challenges posed by forced displacement and migration and as a follow up to the London Syria Conference in 2016.
ERI focuses on the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) and Europe's Southern Neighbourhood (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia). The initiative aims to rapidly mobilise additional financing in support of growth, vital infrastructure and social cohesion. Enhancing the prospects for more resilient and inclusive growth - and creating sustainable employment opportunities, particularly for young people and women - is crucial to improving living standards.
The Economic Resilience Initiative provides a comprehensive package of support, offering a broad range of products to meet the specific needs of private and public sector clients with the private sector at the core of the ERI.