ZAGREB, September 18, 2018 – Croatia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić reiterated on Tuesday that increasing the national contribution in co-financing programmes was unacceptable and that it won’t help a better absorption of European funds.
“We are the youngest member and doubling co-financing from 15% to 30% is an exceptionally high burden both for those implementing projects and for the national budget. We clearly said that that is not acceptable and that it will not help a better absorption of funds nor contribute to convergence within the EU,” Pejčinović Burić told reporters in Brussels where she is attending a meeting of the General Affairs Council.
The most important topics of the meeting are the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027 as well as a discussion on the rule of law in Poland that the Commission has launched against Poland for not respecting EU principles and values.
Speaking about the multiannual financial framework, Pejčinović Burić said that Croatia advocates retaining traditional policies such as cohesion and the common agriculture policy. She acknowledged that new areas exist that need to be financed from the European budget, new challenges and new policies that have to be taken into consideration.
The European Commission presented a proposal of the new multiannual financial framework which is somewhat higher in nominal value than the current 2014-20 framework but allocates less for cohesion policy and for agriculture.
As far as the debate about Poland is concerned, Croatia’s FM advocates finding a solution through dialogue between the Commission and Warsaw. We are convinced that at the moment the EU needs to be more united than ever so that it can resist the challenges that stand before it. This debate should not go on for too long. We hope that a compromise will be found in the near future that will be acceptable to all. The rule of law is one of the fundamental values of the EU, she said.
Last year the European Commission proposed that the Council of the EU launches procedures under Article 7 against Poland which could lead to suspending its voting rights and freezing billions of euros from EU funds. Today’s meeting is also expected to discuss Brexit.