Croatian President President Stjepan Mesic met the Mayor of the City of London, David Brewer, and the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Jean Lamierre, in London on Wednesday to discuss possibilities of strengthening economic cooperation and boosting investment in Croatia.
The bank is very pleased with the fact that the process of Croatia's accession to the EU has been renewed and that the talks have started, the EBRD president said. We talked about a number of projects concerning infrastructure, environment and tourism which the bank is implementing and plans to implement in Croatia in the future, he said, adding that the EBRD was very positive about Croatia's future. Lamierre said the bank was considering cooperation with some agro-businesses which started exporting their products and which must strengthen their capacities.
The EBRD was founded in 1991 to help the development of the private sector in new European democracies and encourage the transition of former communist countries to a market economy. Today, the bank finances projects in 27 central European and central Asian countries as the largest single investor in those regions. As one of the most significant investors in Croatia, the EBRD has so far invested 1.4 billion euros in more than 70 infrastructure and economic projects, of which two thirds have been made in the private sector.
Mayor Brewer hosted a meting of President Mesic and London City businessmen. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the three strongest investment banks that are already investing in Croatia - Norton Rose, Citigroup and UBS - representatives of Marsh Inc., the world's leading risk and insurance services firm, and the Stephenson Harwood consulting company and many others. We warmly welcome the start of Croatia's EU membership talks and we are happy that the talks were launched during our presidency of the EU, Mayor Brewer said. He said that the talks he held with Mesic focused on possibilities for partnership between the London Stock Exchange and the two stock exchanges in Croatia so as to ensure better access to international capital markets. Mesic and Brewer also discussed how to connect London and Croatian business people.
The City, London's business centre, makes 500 billion euros a year and the 200-year old London Stock Exchange is the biggest stock market. Although, the City formally has only 6,000 permanent residents, this financial centre employs over 300,000 people. Later today, Mesic is scheduled to hold talks with representatives of the British-Croatian Chamber of Commerce.