Amount withdrawn in 2016 was double the amount in 2015.
In the three and a half years since the accession to the European Union, Croatia has withdrawn from the European funds 19 percent of the total available funds, or slightly less than two billion euros. In 2016, it withdraw substantially more than in 2015, according to estimates published on Monday by the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK), reports tportal.hr on January 9, 2017.
“Although Croatia until now withdrew from EU funds just slightly higher amounts than it paid in, we estimate that in 2016 the amount of withdrawn funds will be almost twice the amount in 2015”, said Saša Bukovac, assistant director of the HGK’s Department of International Affairs and the EU.
Better withdrawal of money from EU funds was primarily the result of an increase in the number of announced public tenders, stronger administrative capacities in the management and control of EU funds, and transparency of the financial sector in support of the applicants, assessed HGK.
In 2014, Croatia withdraw from the EU budget about 584 million euros, a year later 556 million euros, while in 2016 the amount could reach around 850 million euros, according to HGK, which used the data of the Ministry of Finance for its calculations.
Croatian Chamber of Economy said that the cause for earlier poor results in the withdrawal of EU funds were imbalances in a large number of applications, lack of staff in the competent authorities, and frequent changes to tender documents.
Bukovac said that it was important to identify specific areas for which EU funds were clearly necessary. In accordance with this, new public tenders should be announced in due time. “We are optimistic and we anticipate that the use of funds of the European Union in Croatia in the new year will record additional growth, which would ensure significantly better overall utilization of EU funds”, concluded Bukovac.
Croatia hopes that in 2016 it will receive money from EU funds for a number of major and minor projects. One of the most important projects is the construction of the Pelješac Bridge, which would connect the Pelješac peninsula and the Dubrovnik area with the rest of Croatia, so that travellers do not have to cross the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina when they want to visit the southernmost part of Croatia. Possible LNG terminal on the island of Krk is another possible project which could be financed from EU funds, and it is hoped that the majority of funds needed for implementation of the recently adopted waste management plan for the next five years will also come from the EU budget.