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EIF and Erste Croatia to provide support for innovation, culture and creativity, as well as green and digital transition in Croatia

    Date: 29 November 2022
  • Under the European Union’s InvestEU programme, the EIF provides guarantees for loans and leases under three pillars: sustainability; innovation and digitalisation; and the cultural and creative sectors
  • This is the first signature under the new InvestEU Fund in Croatia
  • EIF financing for Croatia has supported 5 000 companies and 70 000 jobs to date

The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the EIB Group, has signed a €50 million guarantee agreement with Erste Bank Croatia under the InvestEU Fund to support sustainability, innovation and digitalisation of Croatian small businesses, as well as the development of the cultural and creative sectors. Since the start of operations in Croatia, the EIF has signed over 40 agreements with local commercial banks, supporting around 5 000 companies and heling to sustain some 70 000 jobs in the country.

Thanks to wide-ranging coverage, the funds under the InvestEU will help Croatian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps to introduce more sustainable, climate-friendly technologies and operating practices. The financing provided by the EIF also supports innovation and digital transformation by enhancing access to finance for research and technologically-driven companies. It will also contribute to the development of the cultural and creative sectors, the creation of new business ecosystems and their adaptation to current market challenges.

Director in the EIF’s Mandate Management Department Hubert Cottogni explained: “Since 2017, when the first guarantee agreement with Erste Bank was signed, Erste became one of the EIF’s key partners in Croatia. Today’s agreement marks an important milestone in our fruitful cooperation, as this is the first signature under the InvestEU Fund in Croatia and one of the first in the entire European Union. This financing will enable the profound transformation of the Croatian economy towards a more sustainable, digital, inclusive and competitive model.”

President of the Management Board of Erste&Steiermärkische Bank d.d. Christoph Schoefboeck said: “We are very pleased to become the first partner bank under the InvestEU Fund in Croatia and we look forward to continuing and further deepening our long-standing successful cooperation. To date, in partnership with the EIB and the EIF we have provided a total of €290 million in funding and €515 million in loans supported by EGF and InnovFin guarantee instruments to our clients. Support for small and medium-sized enterprises, as important drivers of growth and economic development, is one of our key strategic pillars. This guarantee agreement provides us with three additional guarantee instruments that will enable our clients to make green and sustainable investments, conduct projects with innovative and digitalised components and support our clients within the cultural and creative sectors. This will certainly lead to the accomplishment of numerous successful projects.”

Background information

About the EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB)  is jointly owned by the 27 EU Member States. Through its lending, blending and advisory activities, it seeks to boost the European Union’s potential in terms of jobs and growth, support action to adapt to and mitigate climate change and promote EU policies outside the Union. Between 2015 and 2020, the EIB was the implementing partner of the European Fund for Strategic Investments and manager of the European Investment Advisory Hub, the main pillars of the Investment Plan for Europe.

About the EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the EIB Group. It supports SMEs in the European Union by improving their access to finance through a wide range of selected financial intermediaries. The EIF designs, promotes and implements equity and debt financing instruments targeting SMEs. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, research and development, the green and digital transitions, and employment.

About Erste Croatia

Erste&Steiermarkische Bank d.d. originates from the former large regional banks — Riječka banka, Bjelovarska banka, Trgovačka banka and Čakovečka banka — and has been operating under this name since 1 August 2003. Today it is a modern bank, ranked third on the Croatian market by total assets, and is part of the international Erste Group, one of the leading financial service providers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). What makes Erste Bank different is its employees, their approach to work, innovation, and care for clients. The Bank has been posting great business results for many years, continuously investing in digital development that facilitates innovation and creativity in customer service. By supporting people’s financial needs and financing sound and profitable projects implemented by entrepreneurs and companies contributing to employment growth in the real sector, the Bank adequately supports the development of the economy as a whole.

About the InvestEU programme

The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with crucial long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of sustainable recovery of the economy. It will also help mobilise private investments for the Union’s policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal and the digital transition. It brings together under one roof a multitude of EU financial instruments currently available to support investment in the European Union, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible.

Press contacts:

EIB Group: Tibor Jona, t.jona@eib.org; +352 4379 84105; +352 691 287 052

Website: www.eif.org/press — Press Office: +352 4379 21000 — press@eib.org

Erste Bank : Danijela Trbović, dtrbovic@erstebank.com; pr@erstebank.com, Mob:+385 99 2371 531

Note: Following the recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, we are updating the relevant EIF.org pages.


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