These are funds for reforms from the national recovery plan undertaken by 31 December 2021, including active employment measures, a program to decarbonize the energy sector, activities in the field of physical planning, labor market, and social welfare reforms, Plenković explained after meeting with Šuica.
“We have been given clear criteria defined for undertaking reforms, all those benchmarks that were important for the Commission to evaluate our achievements every six months. We can say that we are fast and efficient in this regard,” said Plenković, adding that this is the largest grant that Croatia has received from the European Commission ever.
Šuica pointed out that Croatia is the sixth EU member to receive the first payment from the Commission under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
“That is a program that should protect the EU and its members from future possible shocks, created as a consequence of COVID-19,” Šuica said.
Asked by reporters whether inflation would affect the increase in funds within the program, Šuica said that the Commission is borrowing money on the capital market and is obliged to repay it by 2059.
“There probably will not be any change, but fewer projects are likely to be made than envisaged in the national programs,” Šuica said.
Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Marin Piletić were also present during the meeting.
Addressing the press conference after the meeting, Piletić presented a social mentoring program that will be financed from the next payment within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The project envisions the training of at least 220 social workers who will be employed as social mentoring experts, and it is anticipated that the social mentoring service will be used by 30,000 beneficiaries, Piletić explained.
From 1 January 2023, that program should be up and running, and the Croatian Institute for Social Work will also be established, the goal being empowering individuals, self-activation, and motivating socially vulnerable groups, he added.
Beneficiaries will include the long-term unemployed, children from families with the guaranteed minimum allowance, people with disabilities, and victims of human trafficking.
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