Today, Valamar Riviera signed a loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the amount of EUR 16 million.This is the first EIB transaction in Croatia directly financing a private sector company with the support of an EU budget guarantee through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is a financial component of the Investment Plan for Europe, better known to the general public as the Juncker Plan. “.The loan from the European Investment Bank will co-finance the completion of Valamar Girandello Resort, ie the construction of the first Kinderhotel 5 * in the Valamar Riviera portfolio, whose opening in April this year completes the repositioning of Rabac as a leading holiday destination for higher paying guests. This loan is a supplement to the indirect loan in the amount of EUR 44 million granted to Valamar by HBOR in March 2017.”Today we presented the results of the EIB Group in Croatia in 2017, which reached the highest level since 2013. Payments of 729 million euros, or 28% more than in 2016, represent our contribution to the real economy. We also signed the first direct transaction with a private sector company backed by an EFSI guarantee to support tourism in Croatia. Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors and is responsible for 20% of Croatia’s GDP and 10% of jobs in the country. At the same time, we signed an agreement to further improve the quality of the EIB’s advisory centers and established an advisory body, the so-called European Advisory Hub, which offers Croatia a unique approach to support in project preparation. ”Said Dario Scannapieco, Vice President of the EIBThe first EIB transaction in Croatia directly financing a private sector company with the support of an EU budget guarantee through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)This EUR 16 million EIB loan is a supplement to the EUR 44 million indirect loan granted to Valamar by HBOR in March 2017. The agreement we signed today with the European Investment Bank is a confirmation of the exceptional trust of large financiers in Valamar Riviera, but also an example of a quality investment project recognized at the highest European level because it contributes to the development of the Croatian economy in a broader sense, said Marko Čižmek. He added that Valamar continuously invests in raising the quality of products and developing the destinations in which it operates, as well as in improving working conditions in tourism.“For Valamar, this cooperation is extremely important in terms of expanding the horizons of financial sources that enable us to implement large investment projects. We hope that we will continue our cooperation with the EIB on future projects within the strategic goals of our company, which include achieving double-digit growth of results and values of the company in a sustainable and socially responsible way.. ” concluded Čižmek.
The landscape of college basketball has completely changed since the adoption of the one-year rule, mandating players to play one year in college basketball (or in Europe, if you’re Brandon Jennings) before packing up and entering the NBA Draft.Sure, the requirement has its opponents, such as Hall of Fame head coach and current ESPN college basketball commentator Bob Knight.But the rule, which was put into practice after the 2005 draft, has worked well for all parties involved, including the coaches and fans of college basketball.While Kentucky fans only have one year to enjoy the stellar play of John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, are any bluegrass fans actually upset at Calipari, Bledsoe and Wall for bringing back excitement and respectability to a previously banged up program?I hope not, but if so, I’m sure plenty of teams would love to trade their senior-laden teams for one year of either of the uber-talented guards.Sure, this has been a repeated theme, with three of the “Thad Five” exiting Columbus to the NBA immediately following a defeat in the NCAA championship game.In fact, only one player from that famed recruiting class, resident senior David Lighty, remains on Ohio State team today.Buckeyes fans everywhere consoled each other and wiped the tears from their young as the team only had one legitimate year to contend for the title.Boohoo.I doubt you would find any fans at the time questioning Matta’s recruiting strategy to recruit the best players in the country and forming one of the best freshman-laden squads ever to grace the hardwood.And I even further doubt many would trade a shot at a championship, albeit the shortest window of opportunity this side of the 2004 Lakers, for a more consistent roster.While it does drastically enhance the college game, it equally benefits the players themselves.Don’t buy the whole, “If you’re old enough to go to war, you should be allowed to make money playing professional basketball” argument.During the days of high school kids jumping straight to the NBA, the dropout rate of these “can’t miss” stars was alarmingly high.Let’s just look at the last class of players deciding to skip college:The 2005 draft featured nine players who made the jump from high school directly to the NBA.Two of those nine are already out of the league, including Gerald Green, who was picked by the Boston Celtics with the 18th overall pick.Additionally, while it may have been obvious that LeBron James and Kobe Bryant were going to skip college, it isn’t nearly as easy a decision for some other players, especially when you have millions of dollars enticing you.While many making the jump have had all kinds of success, a significantly higher portion of those has had little to no success.For every Kevin Garnett or Dwight Howard, you have far more Kwame Browns and Robert Swifts, players who ride the pine their entire careers or simply can’t cut it in the professional game.The college game refines players’ fundamentals and teaches them maturity on and off the court.And please don’t tell me you wouldn’t have liked to see Kobe Bryant carve up ACC opponents in a Duke uniform, even for only one year.While players may have to wait one year before cashing in on millions of dollars in contract money and endorsements, forcing them to be the big men on campus for a year is hardly a cruel punishment.It can even be argued the fame they enjoy in their college towns far exceeds the scrutiny and the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of mentality that accompanies any professional sport.While the NBA does care about its little brother — no not the D-League, but college basketball — it would not implement the rule if it didn’t additionally benefit themselves.For the NBA, the one-year rule entirely changes the environment for rookies and curtails the five-year projects we have seen with Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard.NBA coaches can now focus on teaching these players intricate offenses and proper man-to-man defense rather than simply going through the busywork of teaching basketball fundamentals usually obtained at the collegiate level.Rookies now come into the league and are immediately recognized by even the most casual basketball fans because those same fans were either strongly rooting for or cursing the players a year before in the true American pastime, otherwise known as office March Madness pools.The visibility and exposure of a player like Kevin Durant coming into the league from the University of Texas is much higher than it would have been had he come straight from Montrose Christian School in Montrose, Maryland.Sure, it’s unfortunate the one-year rule does not mandate these college basketball superstars buy into the academic world of college, but the one-year gap between adolescence and adulthood is severely needed.Knight may never approve, but the rule creates significant buzz in the game of college basketball, readies future NBA players in a safe learning environment and all but reduces the frequency of words like “upside” and “project” on draft day.Rightfully so, I think the rule is here to stay.