EIOPA calls for experts to join Network on Catastrophe Risks

Source: European Union

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) today issued a call for experts to join a Technical Expert Network on Catastrophe Risks with the aim to strengthen and complement EIOPA’s expertise with regard to the modelling and mitigation of (natural) catastrophe risks and climate change risks. This initiative is part of EIOPA’s work on sustainable finance.

The Network will share technical expertise and collect evidence in particular with regard to the following:
The extent to which the calibration of the standard parameters for the natural catastrophe risk module of the standard formula captures climate related developments
An estimate of ultimate losses from natural catastrophe scenarios in technical provisions
Risk management practices of the insurance and reinsurance industry in relation to catastrophe risks
Private sector initiatives in addressing gaps in coverage of natural catastrophe risks
EIOPA is seeking in-depth expertise in modelling and/or underwriting of natural catastrophe and climate change risks from academia and industry, in particular from brokers, reinsurers, model vendors and data analysts.
Further details about the call for expression of interest can be obtained via EIOPA’s Website. The deadline for applications is Friday, 4 January 2019 at 23:59 CET.

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Council agrees on more effective rules to solve cross border parental responsibility issues

Source: European Union

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The Council adopted its position on the revision of so called Brussels IIa regulation which sets out rules on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, as well as on intra-EU child abduction.
It aims at improving the current legal EU rules that protect children in the context of cross-border parental responsibility disputes related to custody, access rights and child abduction.

The best interest and wellbeing of our children come first. We have agreed today on new rules to make sure that international child abduction and other cross border parental responsibility issues are dealt with effectively and that decisions are applied swiftly. We cannot let the daily life of a child to be undermined because of problems of cross border judicial cooperation.
Josef Moser, minister of justice of Austria
Josef Moser, minister of justice of Austria said: “The best interest and wellbeing of our children come first. We have agreed today on new rules to make sure that international child abduction and other cross border parental responsibility issues are dealt with effectively and that decisions are applied swiftly. We cannot let the daily life of a child to be undermined because of problems of cross border judicial cooperation”.
The new rules amend the existing Brussels IIa regulation on a number aspects and foresee in particular:
enhanced and clearer rules on intra-EU child abduction cases with the introduction, for example, of clear deadlines to ensure these cases are treated in the most expeditious manner;
clearer rules on the opportunity for the child to express his/her views with the introduction of an obligation to give the child a genuine and effective opportunity to express his/her views;
the complete abolition of exequatur for all decisions in matters of parental responsibility. This will save time and money for citizens whenever a decision needs to circulate from one member state to another. This abolition of exequatur is associated with a number of safeguards;
clearer provisions on the placement of a child in another member state, including the need to obtain consent for all placements, except where a child is to be placed with a parent;
the harmonisation of certain rules for the enforcement procedure. While the enforcement procedure remains governed by the law of the member state of enforcement, the regulation includes some harmonised grounds for suspending or refusing enforcement, thereby giving more legal certainty to parents and children.
Clearer rules on the circulation of extra judicial agreements. The text foresees that these agreements, for example on divorce or legal separation, will be allowed to circulate only if they are accompanied by a special certificate.
Background
The proposal was presented by the Commission on 30 June 2016. It is subject to the special legislative procedure which requires unanimity in the Council after consultation of the European Parliament. All Member states, except Denmark, are party to this legislation.
The opinion of the Parliament was delivered on 18 January 2018.
Next steps
The work will continue on finalising the text in view of a political agreement.
Visit the meeting page Download as pdf

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State aid: Commission refers Romania to Court for failure to recover illegal aid worth up to €92 million

Source: European Union

An arbitral award of December 2013 (Micula v Romania) found that by revoking an investment incentive scheme in 2005, four years prior to its scheduled expiry in 2009, Romania had infringed a bilateral investment treaty between Romania and Sweden. Romania had abolished the scheme as part of the process of accession to the EU in order to comply with EU State aid rules in its national legislation.
The arbitral tribunal ordered Romania to compensate the claimants, Viorel and Ioan Micula, two investors with Swedish citizenship, for not having benefitted in full from the scheme.
However, following an in-depth investigation, on 30 March 2015 the Commission adopted a decisionconcluding that the compensation paid by Romania to the two investors and their companies was in breach of EU State aid rules and ordering Romania to recover the compensation from the beneficiaries.
In particular, the Commission found that by paying the compensation awarded to the claimants, Romania would grant them advantages equivalent to those provided for by the incompatible aid scheme.
As a matter of principle, EU State aid rules require that illegal State aid is recovered in order to remove the distortion of competition created by the aid.
The deadline for Romania to implement the Commission’s decision was 31 July 2015 in line with standard procedures, i.e. four months from the official notification of the Commission decision. Until the illegal aid is fully recovered, the beneficiaries in question continue to benefit from an illegal competitive advantage, which is why recovery must happen as quickly as possible.
Romania has already recovered part of the illegal aid from the beneficiaries. However, more than three years after the Commission decision almost half of the original aid amount still remains to be recovered and there is still no prospect of an immediate full repayment of the outstanding aid.
The Commission has therefore decided to refer Romania to the Court of Justice for failure to implement the Commission decision, in accordance with Article 108(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Background
Member States have to recover illegal State aid within the deadline set in the Commission decision, which is usually four months. Article 16(3) of Regulation (EU) No 2015/1589 and the case-law provide that Member States should immediately and effectively recover the aid from the beneficiary.
If a Member State does not implement a recovery decision, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice under Article 108(2) TFEU, which allows the Commission to directly refer cases to the Court for violations of EU State aid rules.
If a Member State does not comply with the judgment, the Commission may ask the Court to impose penalty payments under Article 260 TFEU.
According to settled EU case law, a Commission decision is binding and enforceable also before national courts and recovery is governed by national law, provided this allows for immediate and effective recovery. In the present case, the recovery process has not advanced over the past years and Romanian courts have failed to comply with the Commission’s recovery decision.

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Commissioner Gabriel congratulates the first 2,800 municipalities granted WiFi4EU vouchers

Source: European Union

Today the European Commission announced the results of the first WiFi4EU call for proposals, which ran on 7-9 November. 2,800 municipalities were selected to receive a WiFi4EU voucher worth €15,000. The total budget of this call was €42 million. The selected municipalities will be able to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces, such as town halls, libraries, museums, parks, squares and other places of public interest.
Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel welcomed the announcement in the following statement:
“Thanks to the first WiFi4EU call, 2,800 municipalities will be able to give thousands of Europeans and visitors free internet access in public spaces across the EU, bringing connectivity closer to citizens in their day-to-day lives. Those municipalities are located in all corners of Europe.
Improving connectivity in the EU is a key part of our Digital Single Market strategy, and WiFi4EU is another concrete step to make it a reality for everyone. It will bring many more Europeans online for free, enabling them to enjoy better communications and new opportunities to connect that will ultimately strengthen our EU society and economy.
The recently approved new rules establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) will ensure faster access to radio spectrum and will boost investment in high-speed and high-quality networks everywhere in Europe, including in remote areas. WiFi4EU comes in addition to these EU-wide efforts aiming to make connectivity universal.
Our goal is that citizens and businesses all over Europe will be better protected and enjoy access to affordable communications services, including internet access for services such as eGovernment, eHealth, online banking, video calls and many more. And we will achieve it!”
Next steps
Following today’s announcement, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), the Commission’s executive agency in charge of implementing the WiFi4EU scheme, will now invite voucher winning municipalities to sign grant agreements. As soon as this is completed, selected municipalities will be able to contract a Wi-Fi company that will install the WiFi4EU hotspots in public spaces and then to redeem the voucher. All 2,800 WiFi4EU hotspots will be free of charge and operate for at least three years.
There will be three further calls for which municipalities that did not receive a voucher this time can apply. The second call will be launched at the beginning of 2019. In total, around 8,000 municipalities will be able to benefit from this scheme between now and 2020.
In the meantime, all registered municipalities can join the dedicated WiFi4EU Community to give feedback on the initiative, engage with municipalities from all over Europe, and receive updates about the WiFi4EU programme.
Background
Announced by President Juncker in his State of the Union address in September 2016, the WiFi4EU initiative is part of the ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules, including new measures to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost Europe’s competitiveness.
The first WiFi4EU call for proposals was launched on 7 November at 13:00 (CET) and closed on 9 November at 17:00 (CET). The call proved to be very popular, with over 13,000 applications from all participating countries. Three more WiFi4EU calls will be organised in the coming two years. For all four calls, the Commission is making available a total of €120 million for up to 8,000 municipalities across the EU. The Commission selects municipalities on a “first-come, first-served” basis.
WiFi4EU-funded networks will be free of charge, free of advertising, and free of personal data harvesting. Funding will be provided for networks that do not duplicate existing free private or public services of a similar quality. Municipalities will contract WiFi installation companies and will be responsible for the set-up and maintenance of the WiFi hotspots.
For more information
More details on the first WiFi4EU call for proposals are available here.
More general information on the initiative is available here and in the factsheet.

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Calendrier du 10 au 16 décembre 2018

Source: European Union

Déplacements et visites
 
Lundi 10 décembre 2018
Foreign Affairs Council
President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Manfred Weber, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.
Ms Federica Mogherini chairs the Foreign Affairs Council, in Brussels.
Mr Jyrki Katainen delivers a keynote speech at the conference “Best practices of integrating refugees and migrants through Youth Organisations” co-organised by the World Scout Bureau Europe Support Centre and the European Youth Forum, in Brussels. 
Mr Jyrki Katainen receives a delegation of Finnish County Governors.
Johannes Hahn participates in the EU-Serbia Intergovernmental Conference, in Brussels.
Johannes Hahn participates in the EU-Montenegro Intergovernmental Conference, in Brussels.
Mr Miguel Arias Cañete in Katowice, Poland (10-15/12): participates in the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24).
Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis receives representatives of Science Meets Life: Mr René Custers, Regulatory & responsible research manager, VIB and Prof. Dr. George Coupland, director of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne.
Mr Phil Hogan in Athens, Greece: meets Mr Stavros Arachovitis, Minister for Rural Development and Food of Greece; meets Mr Stelios Rallis, Secretary General for Digital Policy of Greece; and receives an Honorary Doctorate from the Agricultural University of Athens.
Ms Violeta Bulcparticipates in the 2nd Transport Community Treaty Ministerial Meeting and meets the Western Balkans Six (WB6) Ministers of Transport
Ms Violeta Bulc receives Mr Ayara Radhouane, Minister of Transport of Tunisia.
Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowskain Katowice, Poland: attends the Climate Change Conference and the Copernicus side-event on “The global reach of Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.”
Ms Vĕra Jourová delivers the opening speech at the Launch of the Antisemitism survey, in Brussels.
Mr Tibor Navracsics in Budapest, Hungary: speaks at a hearing held by the Committee on European Affairs of the Hungarian National Assembly.
Ms Corina Creţu in Strasbourg, France: attends and delivers a speech at the Inauguration of the European Aseptic and Sterile Environment (EASE) Training Centre of the University of Strasbourg.
Mr Julian King delivers a speech at the German Marshall Fund Launch Event, in Brussels.
 
Mardi 11 décembre 2018
College meeting
General Affairs Council
President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the Plenary of the European Parliament on the preparations ahead of the European Council.
Mr Andrus Ansip in Nairobi, Kenya: delivers a speech at the Opening Session “Empowering African economies in the digital era” of the first Africa eCommerce Week; and delivers a speech at the High-level Dialogue on Trade and the Digital Economy in Africa.
Mr Jyrki Katainen meets the CEOs of the Finnish Forest Industries, the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries and the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, in Strasbourg.
Mr Carlos Moedas in Stockholm, Sweden; attends a working lunch with Mr Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Ms Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research and various business and academic stakeholders; and delivers a keynote speech at the Seminar on European Viable Cities Day 2018.
Ms Mariya Gabriel in Strasbourg, France; meets with a delegation from the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment of Ireland’s Oireachtas; meets with a group of Bulgarian regional journalists; meets with Mr Volker Rieck and Mr Stefan Herwig, experts in informatic technology and authors; and delivers a speech on Copyright at the “Meet the Authors” event organised by the European Authors’ Societies (GESAC) in the European Parliament.
 
Mercredi 12 décembre 2018
President Jean-Claude Juncker, together with Mr Johannes Hahn, receives His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Ms Federica Mogherini meets His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Mr Jyrki Katainen participates in the debate on the Future of Europe with Mr Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, in the European Parliament, in Strasbourg.
Mr Jyrki Katainen attends the meeting of the Presidency of the European People’s Party, in Brussels.
M. Pierre Moscovici à Francfort : rencontre M. Mario Draghi, Président de la Banque centrale européenne.
M.Pierre Moscovici à Francfort : participe à une conférence sur le futur de l’Europe organisée par le Financial Times.
Mr Christos Stylianides attends an official lunch hosted by Mr Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament honouring Mr Nikos Anastassiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus.
Mr Tibor Navracsics in Pécs, Hungary: gives a lecture on the role of culture in a changing Europe and how it can preserve our European identity, at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pécs.
Ms Margrethe Vestager receives MrSébastien Soriano, Chairman of Arcep, Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes.
 
Jeudi 13 décembre 2018
European Council
President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of Austria.
President Jean-Claude Juncker receives Mr Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark.
President Jean-Claude Juncker participates in the European Council.
Mr Andrus Ansip receives Mr Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.
Mr Valdis Dombrovskis meets Mr Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, in Brussels.
Mr Jyrki Katainen attends the Summit of the European People’s Party, in Brussels.
Mr Jyrki Katainen receives members of the Energy Transitions Commission.
Ms Cecilia Malmström participates in the2018 Export Control Forum, in Brussels.
M. Pierre Moscovici à Paris : participe à l’audition du Sénat Français par les Commissions des Affaires européennes et des Finances.
Mr Christos Stylianides receives Dr Agostino Miozzo, Director General of the Department for Civil Protection of Italy.
Mr Phil Hogan in Antwerp, Belgium: delivers the closing address at the Agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) seminar on “Multi-level strategies for digitising agriculture and rural areas”.
Mr Carlos Moedas receives the members of the Economic Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly.
Mr Carlos Moedas speaks at a commemoration ceremony in honour of late Professor Fotis Kafatos, founding President of the European Research Council, in Brussels.
 
Vendredi 14 décembre 2018
European Council
Euro Summit
President Jean-Claude Juncker participates in the European Council.
President Jean-Claude Juncker participates in the Euro Summit.
Mr Maroš Šefčovič chairs the EU Battery Alliance meeting on processing and refining of battery raw materials, in Brussels.
Ms Cecilia Malmström in Stockholm, Sweden: participates in a Trade Seminar at the House of Europe.
Mr Neven Mimica participates in a round of discussions on the future of the relations of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries with the European Union, in Brussels.
Ms Marianne Thyssen in Vienna, Austria: delivers a keynote speech at the EUCDW Congress.
M. Pierre Moscovici reçoit M. Roland Lescure, Président et les membres de la Commission des Affaires économiques de l’Assemblée nationale.
M. Pierre Moscovici à Paris : prononce un discours et participe à la 15ème conférence Europa 2018 organisée par EuropaNova.
Mr Christos Stylianides meets Mr Klaus Bouillon, Minister of the Interior of the German state of Saarland.
Mr Phil Hogan receives Mr Andrew McDowell, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Ms Violeta Bulc in Ljubljana, Slovenia: participates in the regional conference of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
Ms Vĕra Jourová in Prague, Czechia: delivers a speech at the Child Online Conference 2018 “Living in the digital world”.
Mr Carlos Moedas receives a delegation from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Mr Carlos Moedas attends a reception with Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal, in Brussels.
 
Prévisions du mois de décembre:
17/12 EU-Kosovo* Stabilisation and Association Council; EU-Ukraine Association Council
17-18/12 Agriculture and Fisheries Council
18/12 EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Council
19/12 Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (Energy)
20/12 Environment Council
Permanence DG COMM le WE du 15 au 16 décembre 2018:
Anca PADURARU: . : +32 (0)2/295 21 23
 
 
 

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Croatia: Investment Plan for Europe – EIB supports Croatian Rimac Automobili in development of high performance electric vehicles and components

Source: European Investment Bank

EIB and Croatian Rimac Automobili sign EUR 30 million loan for investment in research and development of electric vehicles and related components;
Transaction is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe
Rimac will scale up its activities, accelerate investments into RDI, industrialisation and ramp-up its production capabilities
The European Investment Bank announced that it will provide EUR 30 million loan to the innovative car company Rimac Automobili. The financing will allow the company to further develop its electric driving technologies. It will also support the company`s transformation into a technology solutions provider for electric vehicles and a industrial-scale producer of components for the global automotive sector.
The financing comes in the form of growth capital loan, under the European Growth Finance Facility (EGFF), a mechanism launched in 2016.
Enabled by a guarantee form the EU budget, under the Investment plan for Europe (the Junker plan) the loan will allow Rimac Automobili to continue its strong growth. The company has doubled in size over the last 12 months, now employing over 450 people with the majority of them in R&D. Rimac’s goal is to become, one of the major employers and exporters in Croatia.  Rimac will also use the loan to accelerate its research and development and increase sales and marketing effort to enable planned expansion into Asia and Europe.
Vice president of the European Investment Bank Dario Scannapieco said: “Today EIB partners with a company that writes the history of the global automotive industry. EIB is proud to support job creation, support the local economy and Croatian exports, as well as transition to environment friendly transport, and advance the European science, research and development. Rimac is a great story of success build on determination, vision and innovation and one of the reasons why the EIB exists – to support trail-blazing, innovative companies capable of developing not just themselves but their industries and their communities too.”
European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Decarbonisation is at the heart of our transport policy. I welcome this new project under the Juncker Plan, which will help develop innovative solutions for electro-mobility in Europe and stimulate the demand for zero-emission vehicles, alongside our efforts to deploy the alternative fuels infrastructure. Coupling decarbonisation and innovation with job creation is truly a win-win for all.”
Founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili Mate Rimac said: “It is a long and difficult road to build an automotive and technology company, especially in a country where nothing similar has been done. Access to capital was very difficult for us in the early days, with investment activity in this part of Europe being quite low. However, based on our results and accomplishments, more and more international strategic partners such as Porsche, are ready to invest in the company. We welcome EIB’s initiative to enable later-stage startups to have an alternative to traditional equity investment. This funding will help us accelerate our efforts and scale faster and bigger.”

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Croatia: EIB commits EUR 300 million to cohesion projects

Source: European Investment Bank

EIB loan will be used as national contribution in EU funded priority projects in Croatia;
Loan enables Croatia to implement projects worth EUR 8.1 billion in areas like infrastructure, environment and research and development
This is the second portion of a EUR 600 million loan. The  first portion disbursed in 2016 helped finance a large array of small, medium and larger projects in the areas of transport, social infrastructure, environment and urban areas in the country
Croatia will receive EUR 300 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the second, and final, portion of a EUR 600 million loan designed to speed up the implementation and ensure the success of Cohesion Policy projects in the country.  Croatia will use the EIB loan as its national contributions in EU-funded projects. The financing can also be used to pre-finance projects. The loan will increase the number of EU-funded projects implemented throughout the country to improve economic and social cohesion and promote the sustainable development of Croatia.
The EIB financing comes in the form of a Structural Programme Loan (SPL), a dedicated loan product for co-financing schemes backed by EU structural funds. The Croatian Government can also use these funds to finance schemes that would be too small to qualify for direct EIB financing.
EIB Vice President Dario Scannapieco and Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić signed the Finance Contract relating to the second portion on December 7, in Zagreb.
Vice President of the EIB Mr. Dario Scannapieco said: “EIB is committed to support reduction of economic and social disparities in the EU and to promote sustainable development. The EIB loan allows Croatia to apply for EUR 8.1 billion EU funds available to Croatia to boost national research, innovation and infrastructure development. As the EU bank, the EIB is proud to support the economic and social development of Croatia through Structural Program Loans. The results of the first portion are an excellent example of the positive impact the EU has on its citizen’s.”
The first portion of the loan, signed in 2015, helped the Croatian government to kick off many projects. These included, as example: development of the modernization of Zapresic – Zabok railroad; waste water treatment facilities on the island of Krk; development and improvements of water-communal infrastructure in Vukovar, Petrinja, Rovinj, Zupanja, Vodice and Šibenik; construction and equipping of the Hospital for the Palliative Care Patients of the Varazdin General Hospital in Novi Marof, student housing in Virovitica, Vukovar, and Osijek, and E-schools pilot project.
Minister of Finance of the Republic of Croatia Mr. Zdravko Marić said: “The Croatian Government appreciates the EIB Group as being one of the first and most prominent partners in providing cofinancing of the EU funds. This loan represents a continuation of a successful project of co-financing EU funded priority projects in Croatia and signals strong commitment of the Croatian Government in boosting national economy by enhancing utilization of EU funds. The design of this instrument leverages achieving these goals through its flexibility, financial attractiveness and its substitution of domestic budget component. We always support EIB as the EU bank which further fosters economic and social development of the EU and its member states. In Croatia, such an important impact is witnessed through a high volume of lending to both – public and private sector –  amounting to 6.3 billion euros.”
The European Union dedicated EUR 10.7 billion to Croatia as a part of the Union`s structural and investment funds for 2014-2020. To date, Croatia contracted EUR 6.3 billion, a sum expected to increase with this EIB loan.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Ms. Corina Crețu said: “Cohesion Policy programmes in Croatia will have lasting, positive effects on the economy and in the everyday lives of Croatian citizens. It is essential that the appropriate national co-financing is provided for these programmes to make them successful and to get good projects off the ground quickly. This is what this EIB loan helps to assure and I’m glad to see its second portion committed today.”
Loan covers national co-financing contributions in line with the Partnership Agreement and the “Competitiveness and Cohesion” Operational Programme (“OPCC”) in the areas of transport, energy, the environment, health, research and development, infrastructure, nature protection, social infrastructure, ICT, urban regeneration, water and waste management. The EIB loan offers long-term co-financing on the most attractive terms for OPCC projects throughout Croatia.   The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds manages OPCC, and is the Promoter of the loan.
Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds of the Republic of Croatia Ms. Gabrijela Žalac said: “Reports on the absorption of EU structural funds at the end of 2018 demonstrate an increase of contracted amounts to 62% and the level of amounts paid to beneficiaries to 13%. Funds from the first part of the loan were allocated to projects in sectors of transport, environment protection, health and education infrastructure, research and development, as well as ICT services. In order to fully absorb the funds available to the Republic of Croatia, a challenging task is still ahead of us, in which the EIB is our most valuable partner. The second part of the loan is necessary for a successful continuation of utilization of EU structural funds and achievement of Cohesion Policy goals, for the purpose of a balanced regional development of the Republic of Croatia.”

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Croatian Government contributes EUR 500,000 for Bosnia and Herzegovina and other Western Balkans countries to tackle migration challenges and create jobs

Source: European Investment Bank

Total contributions for the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) now close to EUR 130 million; 36 projects approved under the Initiative representing EUR 3.7 billion of financing;
Over 160,000 jobs to be sustained in smaller businesses and midcaps enabled by lending via partner banks;
EIB contributed to ERI with technical assistance and advisory services worth EUR 90 million
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will receive a EUR 500,000 contribution for its Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) from the Republic of Croatia; the contribution will support ERI job creation and infrastructure investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and/or other Western Balkan countries.  
ERI supports countries in the EU’s Southern Neighborhood and Western Balkans to tackle migration and other challenges by stimulating investments in jobs creation and services like energy, transport, water, sanitation and education.  In doing so, the EIB initiative increases economic and social resilience of target countries and helps them to better deal with future crises and shocks, while maintaining stronger growth.
The Initiative substantially increases the EIB and the EU support to two target regions. The EIB will provide an additional EUR 6 billion of financing under ERI, expected to deliver EUR 15 billion of new investments by 2020.  Many of these priority investments will be in sectors and with clients the Bank had previously found difficult to serve, for example because of the higher-risk nature of the operations, despite high socio-economic returns.
To date EIB approved 36 projects under the Initiative, representing financing of some EUR 3.7 billion. A bit more than half of that went into private sector development. More than 3,000 loans are provided to smaller businesses and midcaps in target countries, helping them to sustain 160,000 jobs via small businesses and midcaps alone.
With the support from the EU Member States, the ERI offers additional concessional finance, enhanced support to the private sector and impact finance for these regions up to 2020. To date, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and Slovenia pledged together close to EUR 130 million for ERI.
EIB Vice President Dario Scannapieco said: “EIB is happy with the positive response form the EU member states on our Economic Resilience Initiative. This is a true sign of European solidarity with our neighbors.  With member state support, we will help increase resilience and tackle migration-related issues, strengthen people, economies and improve infrastructure in countries to prepare for future crises and shocks. We will act where and when it really matters and help our neighbors and the EU in areas that matter the most for the people – jobs, economic security, education, health or access to clean water.” 
Minister of Finance of the Republic of Croatia Zdravko Marić said: “Croatia is among the first EU Member States to sign a Contribution Agreement for the European Investment Bank’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) Fund. Our contribution to the Economic Resilience Initiative is a clear signal of Croatia`s commitment to the faster development of the region and our readiness to work together in the European family and join resources with our European partners to help mitigate negative effects of the migrant crisis. The Republic of Croatia deems important to back the Economic Resilience Initiative with the purpose of alleviating migratory pressures in transit countries. ERI funds will be invested in water supply, energy, education, health and sanitation, urban infrastructure, as well as SME support in order to enhance employment opportunities and social inclusion – all of which are the goals promoted by Croatia in the international development community. The countries eligible under ERI are especially important as neighboring countries and are also highly positioned among the priorities of Croatia’s development cooperation strategy.”

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