Government Defends Disappointing Absorption of EU Funds

Total Croatia News

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ZAGREB, November 12, 2018 – Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić commented on Monday on media reports that this year Croatia absorbed 2.7 billion kuna less than planned from EU funds, saying the money available should be absorbed by 2023.

Speaking to reporters, he said that in the agriculture sector tenders had been advertised for 85% of the funds available, with 60% of the funds contracted and 30% paid.

“This year, 4 billion kuna of the 4.5 billion planned will be utilised in agriculture. I don’t think that’s a small amount… Although we have time until 2023, we’ll try to contract and, hopefully, spend all the money by 2020. Then we’d be fully ready for the next financial period,” Tolušić said.

He said fund absorption in his department depended to a great extent on farmers. “Sometimes we can’t know exactly if they will implement projects this month or in three months. We are at their disposal because we have ensured favourable loans with 0.1% interest… If they can’t finance their part, they can come to the Agriculture Ministry and we’ll do our best to absorb all the funds by 2020.”

Jutarnji List daily said today that this year the government would absorb 2.7 billion euro less than planned from European funds, citing figures from this year’s revised budget and sources “from government circles.”

Asked if funds for inspections would stay at this year’s level, Tolušić said there must always be enough money for inspections. “I hope the findings will remain fair, even better than thus far, and controls stricter and more serious.”

Interestingly, in the previous government Tolušić was minister for EU funds and regional development. The results were no better than now.

For more on Croatian agriculture, click here.


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