ZAGREB, May 19, 2019 – European funds are the key to development, better living standards and economic growth, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday, adding that over the past 15 years the EU had invested 365 billion euro in the development of central and east European countries and that 80% of public investment in Croatia came from EU funds.
Until 2020, Croatia has 10.7 billion euro in EU funds at its disposal and it expects as much in the next seven-year budget, Plenković said at the EU Funds Open Doors Day.
“The Croatian state couldn’t find that in the form of grants in any other way,” he said, citing as an example the renovation of the roundabout in Zagreb’s Remetinec neighbourhood, which costs 330 million kuna, of which 273 million kuna comes from EU funds and 50 million kuna from the government.
“This modernisation proves how important EU membership is and how much it improves the quality of living,” Plenković said.
He announced that an agreement will be signed on Monday for the establishment of the Shared Services Centre which will coordinate and manage the utilisation of all IT applications and e-services which government institutions provide to citizens. The project is worth 360 million kuna, of which 307 million kuna comes from EU funds.
The prime minister said the EU had invested 365 billion euro in the development of central and east European countries that became member states in 2004 and 2007. “And when we know that 80% of public investment in Croatia comes thanks to the European Union, then we see that it’s the key to our development, better standards and economic growth.”
The EU Funds Open Doors Day was organised by the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry under the slogan “EU funds are changing Croatia”.
Minister Gabrijela Žalac said that at the end of October 2018 contracted European projects were worth 7.3 billion kuna and that now the amount was 54 billion kuna. “That’s 68% of the contracted allocation of 10.7 billion kuna.”
The government’s goal is for the contracting rate to reach 85% by the end of the year, she said, adding that applications had been called for over 88% of the allocation.
EU projects worth 1.8 billion kuna have been contracted in Zagreb, she said. “We will keep up the same tempo next year so we can contract 100% of the allocation.”
The head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Branko Baričević, said the cohesion policy was one of the most successful EU policies, voicing confidence that Croatia would know how to use it. EU funds “are aimed at increasing overall prosperity and prepare the countries using them to transform their economies into self-sufficient economies,” he added.
More news about Croatia and the EU funds can be found in the Business section.