OREANDA-NEWS.  The European Investment Bank (EIB) has today officially inaugurated its EIB Group Office in Croatia to strengthen relations with promoters, partner banks and enhance its outreach in the country.   

The EU Bank also signed today loans amounting to EUR 17.5 million for the expansion and upgrade of the airport in Dubrovnik: EUR 7 million as a direct loan to the promoter - Dubrovnik Airport and EUR 10.5 million as an intermediated loan to Dubrovnik Airport through Croatia’s Development Bank (HBOR). This represents the first tranches of the total approved loan amount of EUR 32.5 million to finance the promoter’s development project.

Mr Dario Scannapieco, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending operations in Croatia, who inaugurated the EIB Group Office with Mr. Branko Gr?i?, Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia, stated: “The new EIB Group Representation will further foster EIB Group operations in Croatia where the EU Bank has a very good record of cooperation with a lending commitment of EUR 4.5 billion. It will allow us to better seize upon lending, blending of loans with EU grants and technical assistance opportunities and better assess and respond to the financing needs of both public and private sector in Croatia. Today we sign loans supporting the development of Dubrovnik Airport, a strategic infrastructure for the country”, stated Mr Scannapieco and stressed, “In this context the EIB has concluded the first loan with a Croatian corporate entity providing it with a direct access to EIB funding provided under favourable terms relying on collateral granted by the promoter but without a state guarantee”.   

The inauguration of the EIB Group Office in Zagreb is in line with the EIB policy to enhance its presence in all EU Member States. A presence on the ground in the EU Capitals will ensure market proximity and an increased operational delivery capability for the EIB and closer institutional ties with the national authorities. It will contribute to project identification and screening, appraisal of new operations, combining of EIB lending with grants of the EU Structural Funds and financing with the European Investment Fund (EIF) as well as implementing new products to finance the public and private sectors such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The EIB loans will complement EU and national grants as well as Promoter resources.   The airport’s project amounting to investments in the order of EUR 247 million will be implemented during 2015 – 2019 and will cater for future growth in traffic and improve safety and service standards.  Today’s signature, ahead of the availability of the EU grants, will support the recently started works for the new terminal building at the airport and contribute to speed up project implementation.

This operation will also facilitate the future absorption of EU grants for the benefit of the Croatian economy as eligible expenditures will be incurred that will swiftly absorb EU grants once these will be approved.

The upgrade of the Dubrovnik Airport, being part of the trans- European comprehensive airport network, is of strategic importance for providing better transport conditions for passengers and goods as the area of the southern Dubrovnik-Neretva County is isolated from the northern part of Croatia.