June the 28th, 2023 – For the first time ever, European Union (EU) funds exclusively for Croatian island development have been secured.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, in just a few days, the tenth anniversary of Croatia’s membership in the EU will be celebrated, during which numerous development projects were realised thanks to European Union funds. For the first time, funds from the EU will be allocated specifically to Croatian island development, in the amount of 150 million euros.
Seven Croatian counties and their islands
This package is intended for seven counties that also include their islands – Dubrovnik-Neretva, Split-Dalmatia, Šibenik-Knin, Zadar, Lika-Senj, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istria, to which the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Šime Erlić recently sent an invitation to participate.
Only Finland has a special law for its islands
The possibilities of co-financing projects in the current financial period within the framework of the Competitiveness and Cohesion 2021-2027 programme were presented in Kastela. The Integrated Territorial Program 2021-2027 is also involved, and Minister Erlić spoke about the importance of Croatia’s many islands and the specifics in thinking about their development going forward.
No EU nation, with the exception of Finland, has a special law on islands. The new programme for Croatian island development, within the framework of the Integral Territorial Programme, foresees that counties and cities will be free to choose island priorities and strategic goals that deserve co-financing from the new financial envelope themselves.
Croatia boasts 126 permanently or occasionally inhabited islands
The aforementioned counties should find out the projects in their areas for which they can apply for these funds soon. After that, depending on their priorities, the proper conditions will be arranged, coordinated with Brussels, and agreements will be concluded with those counties. This will be followed by the publication of public calls. They are scheduled to be published on September the 15th.
The total amount of grants per project will be defined later, but the intensity of support is up to 85%. “There are more Croatian island development opportunities now than ever before. I expect new projects from municipalities, cities and counties, so that they use all the money available to us”, Minister Erlić said, underlining that this year alone, 84 calls for co-financing projects worth 1.9 billion euros are planned.
Other programmes are also available for Dalmatia
In addition to the possibility for the EU co-financing of projects for this special programme for Croatian island development, other programmes were presented to Dalmatia. This was done through a special campaign implemented by the Ministry; ITU Mechanism and ITU Split, and the Interreg VI-A IPA Programme Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Montenegro 2021-2027.