Some good news for eastern Croatia.
Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Gabrijela Žalac said in Vukovar that projects in five Slavonian counties would get 2.5 billion euros from EU funds by 2020, reports Glas Slavonije on November 5, 2016.
Minister Žalac met in Vukovar with Božo Galić, Prefect of Vukovar-Srijem County, town mayors and municipal mayors from the easternmost Croatian county, as well as with directors of regional and local development agencies. “As Minister, I will advocate for injection of money from Competitiveness and Cohesion Fund, in agreement with colleagues from Rural Development Fund and Human Resources Development Fund”, said Žalac. The project is called “Project Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem”. The Minister pointed out that, according to the “3+ rule”, all these projects have to be contracted by 2023.
She thanked her predecessor, Minister Tomislav Tolušić, for a job well done, since in 10 months of his term “he launched initiatives, sped up procedures and announced tenders which we had been waiting for many years”. “Without well-prepared projects and documentation, we cannot receive money from the funds. We will insist on informing and educating the end users. Errors in the verification and implementation of projects should not happen”, said Žalac.
She pointed out that Croatia withdrew 6 billion kuna from EU funds this year, which is a significant improvement compared to previous years, and announced that by the end of the year they would sign contracts for another billion kuna. She announced that a tender for renewable energy projects would soon be announced.
Minister Žalac added that Slavonia had been neglected for years and that emigration should be stopped, because “if people do not remain living in these area, then there is no one for whom we should implement all these projects”. The same goes for the mountainous areas of Croatia, as well as for the Dalmatian hinterland.
Galić expressed his satisfaction with the implementation of the projects. “I think this is the beginning of the development and progress of our region”, said Galić and expressed hope that Slavonia would develop somewhat faster than the rest of Croatia because otherwise it would lag even more in relation to other regions. He said that, given the lack of money in Vukovar-Srijem County, the EU grants are necessary for investments in economic projects, mainly in agriculture, wood industry and renewable energy, as well as in strategic projects such as the construction of the Danube-Sava Canal and the construction of the Vukovar port.