ZAGREB, September 20, 2019 – Croatia is slowly making progress in decarbonising transport thanks to the absorption of EU funding, but is not satisfied with the pace of progress, Transport Minister Oleg Butković said in Brussels on Friday.
“Croatia is now much better than it was in absorbing EU funding, financing cleaner municipal transport, purchasing new buses, new ships, building new ports. We are not satisfied with the dynamics, which should be better, but we are slowly moving up from the bottom,” Butković told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU transport ministers.
One of the main topics discussed was the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in transport, as part of the EU’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement.
Speaking of the decarbonisation of transport, Butković said that further investment in innovation was necessary, especially in rail transport and the construction of rail infrastructure. “This is very important to us, because we have already built road infrastructure,” he said.
The minister announced that the upgrade and completion of the Trans-European Transport Network and maritime affairs would be among the topics of the Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020 and that an informal ministerial meeting would be organised in that regard.
He noted that Croatia is a maritime country with 15,000 seafarers and that issues such as protection of the marine environment against pollution and further digitisation of the maritime sector are important to it.
“This is very important to us because we finance large railway projects from the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) and it is important that we are allocated more funds in the next multi-annual financial framework so that we can finance such projects,” Butković said.
Butković said that the government was in touch with the European Commission over the recapitalisation of the national flag carrier Croatia Airlines, stressing that the company was important for the national economy, especially tourism.
“We will explain our decision on recapitalisation to the European Commission and I believe there will be no problems,” he said.
The decision to recapitalise Croatia Airlines needs to be approved by the Commission, which will see whether it constitutes unlawful state aid.
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