PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) today signed a €200 million loan to boost economic growth and support earthquake recovery and reconstruction efforts in Croatia.
In 2020, the Croatian economy contracted sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, two powerful earthquakes hit the country in March and December 2020, causing widespread damage and impeding people’s access to public services, including health care and education.
“We are very pleased to continue our long-term cooperation with HBOR and support sustainable recovery in Croatia after a very difficult period marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and two devastating earthquakes,” said CEB Governor Carlo Monticelli. “Our latest loan will enable investment in critical social infrastructure across the country and boost regional development.”
The CEB loan will be directed through HBOR directly to eligible final borrowers to partially finance the development and modernization of local and regional infrastructure, such as water supply, wastewater disposal and treatment networks, local roads, educational and cultural facilities and other municipal facilities.
The loan will allow HBOR to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), create new jobs and maintain existing ones, and finance the rebuilding and retrofitting of earthquake-damaged infrastructure and buildings.
Given its flexibility in terms of allocation, regional distribution and the possibility of merging with other sources of financing, the loan will enable HBOR to enhance competitiveness and enhance access to financing for small businesses and local authorities.
said Tamara Berkow, Chair of the Board of Directors of HBOR. “We will use this loan money for financing under our existing loan programs, but also for projects that will be funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).”
Eligible final borrowers include start-up companies, MSMEs, public and private entities that play a role in the economic and infrastructure development of Croatia, local government units and institutions, and public utility companies. The loan will be implemented across the country thus benefiting a large number of end beneficiaries.
This is the ninth CEB loan for HBOR. It follows a €200 million loan approved in 2019 and a €100 million loan from 2017, both of which support local authorities and MSME investments.
As a CEB member since 1997, Croatia has so far received over €1 billion in bank financing to support major investments in health, urban and rural infrastructure, flood prevention measures, and micro, small and medium enterprises. (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). Croatia also benefits from the CEB-administered Regional Housing Program and is a partner in this programme. More details are available here.
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