Croatian Government contributes EUR 500,000 for Bosnia and Herzegovina and other Western Balkans countries to tackle migration challenges and create jobs

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  • Total contributions for the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) now close to EUR 130 million; 36 projects approved under the Initiative representing EUR 3.7 billion of financing;
  • Over 160,000 jobs to be sustained in smaller businesses and midcaps enabled by lending via partner banks;
  • EIB contributed to ERI with technical assistance and advisory services worth EUR 90 million

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will receive a 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 form the EU member states on our Economic Resilience Initiative. This is a true sign of European solidarity with our neighbors.  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 neighbors 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 neighboring countries and are also highly positioned among the priorities of Croatia’s development cooperation strategy.”