There are 32 towns which have not withdrawn a single euro.
In the last five years, Ludbreg and Zadar have been the top Croatian towns when it comes to using EU funds. In 2017, the top position went to Lipik and Velika Gorica, reports gradonacelnik.hr on August 13, 2018.
Five years since joining the European Union, Croatia still cannot be satisfied with how the EU funds are used. Data on direct and indirect aid to towns in 2017 show a sharp decline in the withdrawal of EU funds, but at the same time the number of towns using the EU funds to finance their projects increased, so in 2017 they were 11 more such towns than the year earlier. On the other hand, 32 out of 129 towns have not withdrawn a single euro, either directly or indirectly, from EU funds.
Lipik is the town which withdrew most money from the European Union per capita in 2017, and thus it took over the first position from Ludbreg which held it in 2016. With 1.43 million kuna, Lipik is the Croatian champion with 233 kuna per capita withdrawn from EU funds. It is closely followed by Županja, which received direct indirect aid from the Union in the amount of 2.7 million kuna, or 224 kuna per capita, Rab (172 kuna), Virovitica (164 kuna), Pazin (160 kuna), Velika Gorica (132 kuna), Klanjec (128 kuna), Pleternica (120 kuna), Buzet (119 kuna) and Bjelovar with 105 kuna per capita withdrawn from EU funds.
The newly-published data of the Ministry of Finance on the execution of budgets of the local self-government units for 2017 show that, in terms of total volume, Velika Gorica dominated with 8.4 million kuna withdrawn in 2017, which was 10.43% of all the funds that Croatian towns received from the EU last year. It is followed in absolute terms by Rijeka (5.7 million), Osijek (5.03 million) Bjelovar (4.2 million), Zadar (4.08 million), Šibenik (3.99 million), Virovitica (3.49 million), Split (2.98 million) and Županja with 2.7 million kuna.
The City of Zagreb, which has the status of a county, withdrew 8.6 million kuna, which is only 11 kuna per capita, placing it at the 60th position among the towns.
Croatia recently marked five years of membership in the European Union and five years since the state, towns and other local government units become eligible to apply for EU funding. It is clear that towns have not sufficiently used the opportunities offered by the EU membership. Moreover, in 2017 there was a significant drop in the withdrawal of EU funds by towns. It should be noted that this analysis includes EU direct and indirect aid – which towns receive through ministries, agencies, etc. – but does not include funds withdrawn by town-owned municipal companies.
In 2016, towns withdraw the record 269.1 million kuna, while in 2017 they received a total of just 89.2 million kuna from the EU. Such a significant decline could be a result of the politically unstable year before (elections in 2015 and early parliamentary elections in 2016), which resulted in a slowdown in project approval. On the other hand, the use of EU funds in multi-year capital projects is not evenly spread. But that does not explain the decline at the level of the whole country, in all towns and with all projects.
However, the number of towns which withdrew at least some funds from the European Union increased last year (from 66 to 77), but it is worrying that, out of 129 towns, as many as 32 have not withdrawn a single kuna since 2013.
Since 2013, Croatian towns have withdrawn 516.6 million kuna from EU funds. The largest amount has been withdrawn by Križevci, more than 53 million kuna, averaging more than 10 million a year. The second is Zadar, with nearly 50 million kuna.
Looking at per capita results, the first is Ludbreg with 631 kuna of EU aid, followed by Križevci, Senj, Skradin, Trilj, Grubišno Polje, Čabar, Umag, Vodice and Mursko Središće.
Translated from gradonacelnik.hr.