As many as 63 towns have not withdrawn a single euro.
After the Ministry of Finance published data on the execution of local budgets for 2016, it has become evident which towns were successful in using EU funds and whether the towns made a step forward in the last year before the local elections, reports Jutarnji List on August 22, 2017.
The answer is no, and the situation is even worse than in previous years. Last year, according to these figures, almost half of all towns in Croatia (63) did not withdraw a single euro from EU funds. Still, this just means that they have not used EU funds independently, but it is possible that some of the town-owned companies or institutions did since that cannot be seen in the Finance Ministry’s data.
However, on the other hand, compared to the previous year, the towns significantly improved the average amount of EU funds used. In a three-year period from 2013 to 2015, the largest annual average of EU funds used per capita was recorded by Senj – 626.88 kunas per capita. Looking just at 2016, the most successful town was Ludbreg, which managed to withdraw 3,068 kunas per capita.
Mayor Dubravko Bilić says that, in the last four years, the EU projects implemented in the town have brought investments worth 32 million kunas of European money, with the largest project being the former waste disposal site Meka. “But we will not stop here. We already have six projects worth 48 million kunas, and the implementation of these projects will start in September. For us, a particularly important project is the archaeological park worth 16 million kunas,” said Bilić.
He added that they do not work just on “large” projects, but also on those which are essential for improving the daily life, especially for retirees. Therefore, they are working on projects such as “We live together”, “Integrative Ludbreg” and the like.
After Ludbreg, the largest amount per capita of EU funds was used by Križevci (1,474 kunas), followed by Grubišno Polje (1,126 kunas), Mursko Središće (755 kunas) and Vinkovci (738 kunas).
The new Mayor of Križevci Mario Rajn explains that the town of Križevci has successfully attracted money from EU funds for several years, and in 2016 the largest project was realised – the Križevci Development Center and Technological Park, worth 37,881 million kunas, which EU co-financed with 33,6 million kunas. “The aim of this project was to build entrepreneurial infrastructure for small and medium enterprises, which can get inexpensive office space and production facilities,” says Rajn.
Among the top ten towns which have used the most EU funds per capita are Umag, Buje, Čabar, Ozalj and Beli Manastir.
Looking at the share of the total funds utilised by all towns, the first place belongs to Zadar, which has used 12.76 percent of all EU funds last year. Head of the EU Funds Department Šime Erlić explains that the town of Zadar has so far carried out 15 EU projects worth more than 70 million kunas, and is currently implementing 20 EU projects with a total value of more than 90 million kunas.
Translated from Jutarnji List.