Croatia is taking a major step towards deepening its European integration with the completion of its part of the Pan-European Corridor Vc motorway, thanks to a loan of up to €55 million provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The Bank is financing a 17.5-km section between Halasica Bridge and the town of Beli Manastir as well as a 5-km motorway section between the town of Beli Manastir and the Hungarian border.
Climate change resilience improvements have been incorporated into the design of these sections to address the risks of the impacts of flooding and extreme rainfall. In addition, work-based learning opportunities for young people will be offered during the construction phase, addressing high unemployment in the region.
The completion of the Croatian part of the motorway towards the Hungarian border will increase regional connectivity, reduce bottlenecks and complement the EBRD’s financing of sections of Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zdravko Marić, Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, said: “We very much appreciate the EBRD’s support for this significant infrastructure project. The EBRD is one of our most important partners in promoting private sector development and sustainable infrastructure investment, which are key preconditions for long-term economic growth. We look forward to the EBRD’s further operations in Croatia. Besides the work towards carrying out its mandate, we remain confident that the EBRD will expand and adapt its products, with the aim of overcoming the present adverse economic circumstances.”
Corridor Vc is a major international transport link connecting Hungary and eastern Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Adriatic Sea in the vicinity of the port of Ploče. The majority of the 702-km route crosses Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the road will also serve as the shortest connection between eastern and southern Croatia.
The EBRD financing will be complemented by a €52 million loan provided by the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The borrower is the state-owned national motorways company HAC.
Victoria Zinchuk, EBRD Director, Head of Croatia, said: “We are very pleased with this agreement, which signifies another milestone towards the completion of this trans-European corridor. It builds on the successful long-term cooperation between HAC and the EBRD and represents a major step towards making European integration happen. It is especially timely in the coronavirus pandemic and demonstrates the EBRD’s determination to continue our support for Croatia.”
Boris Huzjan, President of the Board of HAC, said: “We would like to thank the EBRD for supporting this important project. We appreciate the long-term cooperation that helped to develop the motorways sector in Croatia. The project is a priority for Croatia and of significant importance for the development of the Slavonija and Baranja regions.”
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €3.9 billion in Croatia in 218 projects. The Bank’s activities cover all areas of the economy but are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.