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EIB Investments in Western Balkans and Ukraine Offer Business Prospects for Croatian Companies

The European Investment Bank's (EIB) funding initiatives in Ukraine and the Western Balkans could unlock significant business opportunities for Croatian firms, as discussed at a recent conference hosted by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP)

At a conference organised by the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Ministry of Finance, it was highlighted that the EIB’s investments in Ukraine and the Western Balkans present significant business opportunities for Croatian firms.

HUP’s Chief Director, Irena Weber, underscored the “enormous potential” of EIB’s investments in these regions, advocating for increased public visibility of such opportunities. Weber emphasized the ambition for Croatian companies to emerge as robust partners and investors in EIB-funded projects, particularly focusing on Ukraine and the Western Balkans, with sectors like engineering, construction, food production, and education being pinpointed.

Weber stated, “We believe there is absolutely potential. Being a small and open economy, export enhancement and augmenting our GDP and added value are paramount.”

Irena Weber, HUP’s Chief Director, Photo: hup.hr

The conference showcased opportunities for Croatian businesses and professionals in public procurement processes within EIB-financed projects, with a spotlight on the Western Balkans and Ukraine.

Slađana Ćosić, head of the EIB Group’s office in Croatia, mentioned multiple initiatives and efforts by the EIB and the EU to finance and invest in key sectors of Western Balkan and Ukrainian economies, including infrastructure, energy, education, healthcare, and affordable housing.

She outlined the EIB’s future focus on the reconstruction and recovery of Ukraine, investments in countries slated for EU enlargement, and the implementation of the EU’s Global Gateway program. Since the onset of the conflict, the EIB’s total support for Ukraine has reached €2 billion, with additional funds from the newly established EU fund for Ukraine.

Ćosić highlighted the EIB’s pivotal role in the investment framework for the Western Balkans, a platform led by the European Commission aimed at identifying and developing strategic investments for the region, with over €10 billion provided to Western Balkan countries since 2010.

Finance Minister Marko Primorac expressed hope that the conference would benefit entrepreneurs and announced future similar events with other international financial and development institutions. Primorac wished for the conference to act not only as an information exchange platform but also as a catalyst for closer collaboration between the EIB and Croatia, potentially opening avenues for Croatian companies to participate in third-country projects.

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