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EBRD launches new strategy for Croatia

The EBRD board has adopted a new strategy for Croatia, which is designed to support the country’s further development and the anticipated EU accession by addressing the key needs of the Croatian economy.

The EBRD strategy for Croatia acknowledges the continued progress on structural and institutional reforms important during the decisive phase of EU accession talks and outlines the remaining institutional and economic pre-accession challenges.

These include further improvement of the business environment in the country, privatization of state-owned companies, commercialization of infrastructure, and improving skills and flexibility of the labor force.

In the next three year period covered by the new strategy, the bank will support the country’s EU aspirations through its activities in Croatia, helping to address the outstanding challenges and to catalyze faster economic growth.

The EBRD will continue to promote the development of the enterprise sector by financing investments to improve competitiveness and to support the regional expansion of Croatian companies through various financing tools, including loans, trade finance facilities and equity investments.

The Bank will promote energy efficiency projects in the economy with a particular focus to the corporate sectors. The EBRD will help businesses to raise their environmental standards and will encourage foreign direct investment via risk sharing tools. A special focus will be offered to supporting investments in tourism and the development of agribusiness.

In the infrastructure sector the EBRD will cooperate with other international financial institutions to finance the modernization of key transport links and will work with local and regional authorities in Croatia to prepare projects in wastewater and solid waste sectors, which will be co-financed with EU funds. A priority for the bank will be investments aimed at diversifying energy supplies and improving energy security in Croatia and in the region, and promoting investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The bank will continue to support further strengthening of the financial sector in Croatia by boosting the financial intermediation in the banking segment and will continue to provide financing to facilitate a free flow of credits to the real economy.

The EBRD is one of the largest investors in Croatia. To date the Bank has committed €2.2 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, mobilizing additional investments worth €3.4 billion.

The EBRD’s 19th Annual Meeting is due to take place on the 14-15 May 2010 in the Croatian capital, Zagreb. (press release)