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EBRD President to visit Croatia

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

Aerial cityscape image of Zagreb capital city of Croatia at sunset.

  • Odile Renaud-Basso makes first visit to Croatia as EBRD President on 6-8 July
  • Bank marks 30 years in Croatia, with €4.5 billion invested in total
  • Projects supported cleaner water, air and cities, as well as the private sector

The EBRD’s Odile Renaud-Basso is making her first visit to Croatia as President on 6-8 July 2023.

The President will meet Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, the Minister of Finance Marko Primorac, the Mayor of Zagreb Tomislav Tomašević, private sector companies in the energy and IT sectors, the diplomatic community and civil society, including SVOJA, the NGO founded by Ukrainian refugees to support other refugees’ economic inclusion.

The visit comes as the EBRD marks 30 years of activities in Croatia. The Bank was created in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall to help countries in emerging Europe transition to a market economy. In the last three decades it has invested more than €4.5 billion in Croatia, provided advisory services to over 800 small and medium-sized enterprises and supported the country’s EU approximation process.

To help Croatia meet EU environmental standards, the EBRD launched a programme of wastewater improvements in Zagreb, Split, Pula, Šibenik, Rijeka, Karlovac, Poreč, Zadar and 44 smaller municipalities,  which started in 1995 and is ongoing. This programme has helped reduce pollution in many rivers and the Adriatic Sea, and contributed to Croatia’s bathing water quality being consistently judged the best among EU member states. Other environmental programmes have improved drinking water, solid waste management and urban transport, and supported the modernisation of sea ports in Šibenik, Split, Dubrovnik and Ploče.

The Bank’s key historic projects also include the Zagreb-Rijeka motorway, the Croatian section of Corridor Vc, restructuring of the national highway company HAC, the support to a gas storage facility and the construction of a combined-cycle power plant in Zagreb.

Most of the Bank’s financing in Croatia over these 30 years has been dedicated to private sector development. Notable equity investments include Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ), Pliva (pharmaceuticals) and Podravka, the food and pharma producer.

The EBRD’s 2023 initiatives include promoting female participation on corporate boards, Ukrainian refugees in the labour market and post-earthquake urban development for the city of Petrinja. The EBRD is currently providing technical assistance to the government on green, post-earthquake reconstruction of public buildings and improving governance and management of state-owned real estate, funded by the by Technical Support Instrument of the European Union. It has also helped to deliver a series of diagnostics on the potential, and recommendations on removing bottlenecks, in Croatia’s renewable energy sector.

President Renaud-Basso will also attend the Dubrovnik Forum, focusing her remarks on energy security in Europe. The EBRD believes that renewable energy is key to replacing Russian gas in Europe and has been leading the development of renewable energy markets and financing of new wind and solar generation. The Bank’s current solar and wind pipeline in Croatia totals about €170 million for projects that are expected to add 250 MW of new generation capacity, while across central Europe and the Western Balkans its current renewables pipeline exceeds €1.5 billion.

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