Zagreb, February 2, 2011 – According to the World Bank’s Croatia Policy Notes: A Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, Croatia is facing three key economic and development challenges. These are; (i) the immediate need for fiscal consolidation, emphasizing expenditures rationalization, to create room for expenditures which support growth and protect the vulnerable; (ii) the unfinished structural reform agenda and the urgency of implementation of reforms that would enhance Croatia’s competitiveness, and; (iii) the challenges of maximizing the benefits of EU membership, with a special focus on the absorption of future EU Structural Funds.
World Bank Director for Central Europe and the Baltic Countries, Mr. Peter Harrold presented the new Government officials with the Policy Notes and used the opportunity to discuss future partnership.
‘The recent historic decision of the Croatian people to join the EU presents Croatia with many opportunities. Membership in the EU has served as an engine for economic growth for many countries and Croatia too stands to benefit from the membership. However, membership alone will not be enough, especially given the uncertain external environment, said Peter Harrold, Director for Central Europe and the Baltic Countries. The new government is taking office under difficult economic circumstances, and it is facing very tough challenges and reforms. If addressed quickly, the impact of these reforms would soon translate into growth opportunities. As always, the World Bank is prepared to support Croatia’s efforts along the path to economic recovery.’
Since Croatia joined the World Bank in 1993, the Bank has been active in providing financial and technical assistance, policy advice and analytical services to Croatia. To date, the Bank has offered support for 47 projects with a total value of US$3.3 billion, and it has approved 52 grants with a total value of US$70 million. Currently 13 projects are under implementation with a total commitment value of US$1.1 billion.