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EIB Group invests more than €530 million, Croatian economy shrinks 8.4 pct

Christian Fernsby |
Croatia posted a record 8.4 percent decline in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, Croatian Bureau of Statistics announced on Friday.

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The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group) provided €530 million in loans, equity and guarantees to clients in Croatia in 2020. The two parts of the EIB Group, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), invested €342.5 million and €187.9 million, respectively, making 2020 a record year for the EIF in Croatia.

The EIF contributed to the local economy to the tune of €187.9 million, making 2020 a record year for the EIF in Croatia. The Fund invested €96 million through equity operations, €90.6 million in guarantees and €1.3 million in inclusive finance.

European Investment Bank lending in Croatia reached €342.5 million through six operations signed in 2020 in support of the country’s SMEs. Over 70% of this, or €245.5 million, was provided through cooperation with the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), unlocking new sources of financing for SMEs and mid-caps.

The remaining €97 million was made available to local companies through Croatian commercial banks. These activities brought total EIB investments in Croatia to €7.06 billion (since the beginning of operations in the country), with €4.97 billion invested in the last decade alone.

Before that, the country's biggest annual drop in GDP was 7.3 percent in 2009 during of the global financial crisis.

Data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics indicated that Croatia's GDP shrank for the third consecutive quarter as a result of restrictive measures against the COVID-19 epidemic.

However, the seven-percent GDP drop in the fourth quarter of 2020 was smaller than in the previous quarters. The country's biggest quarterly plunge in GDP since 1995 was recorded in the second quarter of last year, when it amounted to 15.4 percent.

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