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EU Entry Will Help Croatia’s Economic Recovery, Harrold Says

Croatia should “maximize benefits” from the European Union membership once it joins next year to fund investment projects and kickstart economic recovery, Peter Harrold, the World Bank’s senior official, said.

“Croatia will be treated very generously by the EU in the next seven years and that could lead to a huge stimulus of the economy,” Harrold, the lender’s regional director for central Europe and the Baltics, told reporters in Zagreb.

Croatia, which is set to become the EU’s 28th member in July 2013, stands to receive about 10 billion euros ($12.7 billion) in EU grants through 2020. The Adriatic Sea nation is struggling to revive the economy and boost investment after three years of recession and stagnation.

Harrold also said he “has doubts” that Croatia is prepared to absorb the EU funds that will become available.

The government estimated the economy will stagnate this year, while the European Commission said on Nov. 7 it will shrink 1.9 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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