Government Promoting Major Projects in Slavonia

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 24, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday progress had been made in the contracting and realisation of projects as part of the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem Project, adding that it was necessary to strengthen the fiscal capacities of local government and combine the use of the state budget and European Union funds to create a framework for keeping young people in the Slavonia region.

Speaking at the fourth session of the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem Council in Virovitica, Plenković said 5.5 billion kuna worth of contracts pertaining to Slavonia had been signed since October 2016.

He said it was necessary to even out project contracting by county as some counties were more efficient and active than others. He said the Regional Development Ministry would continue to work on a development agreement for the Slavonia Project so as to have a financial and legal framework for fund allocation. Cooperation with the World Bank will be intensified and the stimulation of competitiveness and enterprise will continue.

The Agriculture Ministry will work on solutions for damage caused by natural disasters, and special attention will be paid to the timber industry, freshwater fisheries and wine making, all important for Slavonia, Plenković said.

Croatia is yet to feel the full benefits of the redistribution of the European budget and to improve European fund absorption, the cohesion and agricultural policies being the foundations of regional development, he added.

Economy Minister Martina Dalić said 2.67 billion kuna worth of EU grants were directed into the economy last year and that the bulk of the contracts were signed over the past 12 months, activating enterprise projects worth about 5 billion kuna.

She said 445 million kuna worth of grants were allocated to enterprises in five Slavonian counties and that 870 million kuna worth of projects were launched.

Dalić said a tender worth 200 million kuna was announced last week for small and medium enterprises to invest in equipment and business development, adding that a tender was being prepared in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry to finance continental tourism.

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac said that three months ago, when the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem Council last met, 14% of the projects had been contracted, as against 30% now.

She said eight tenders worth 190 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund would be announced soon, and that short, medium and long term measures would be defined in cooperation with World Bank experts to stimulate the economy, including strategic investments.

Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić said direct aid for farmers in five Slavonia counties last year totalled 1.3 billion kuna, with 810 million kuna allocated from the rural development programme, and that 3.7 billion kuna in aid was planned for this year. Tolušić also announced the possibility of Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development loans for farmers.

The Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem Council was established in March 2017 to coordinate the absorption of European structural and investment funds as well as national resources as part of the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem Project, launched to secure 2.5 billion euro for investing in enterprise, agriculture, education, health care, research and development, water supply and drainage, culture, nature, transport and energy in five Slavonian counties.

During their stay in Virovitica, Plenković and cabinet ministers visited the 23rd edition of the Viroexpo business and agriculture fair.


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