Slowest Race Against Time: Croatia Scrambling to Spend EU Funds

Katarina Anđelković

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Three years after the Zagreb earthquake, Branko Bacic, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction, and State Property, stated for Otvoreno/24Sata that the funds spent so far amount to 600 million euros.

“In the next 100 days, we must spend 403 million euros. A large number of projects are being implemented in the area of the Zagreb and Petrinja earthquakes, and this gives hope that we will be able to use this money. The works are in full swing, the construction sites are filled with workers, and we keep receiving requests for reimbursement of funds daily”, said Bacic in Otvoreno.

He adds that in the last two months since he became minister, they have spent 230 million euros, but he is not satisfied with the construction of replacement houses.

“I announced that in the next month, we will start the construction of 21 houses, but we should not forget that 2,134 buildings in Zagreb have been renovated. By the end of the year, we will complete 250 structural renovations of multi-apartment buildings in Zagreb, and half of them will be self-renovation – says Bačić.

Rector of the University of Zagreb, Stjepan Lakusic: their forecasts were different

“It is standard for the first analyzes and examinations to be carried out in three months, and the employees of the faculty and all colleagues from our departmental chambers did this properly. They did everything possible; they created a database, archived the entire procedure, public tenders started for public buildings, and funds managed private houses. The key was to issue public tenders with quality, and we tried to do it as soon as possible. But we did not foresee a very long time for tenders that still go on after you gather all the documentation”, Lakusic pointed out.

Luka Korlaet, deputy mayor of Zagreb, said that they are satisfied with the renovation in Zagreb.

“We spent HRK 42 million for household reconstruction; we formed mobile teams that helped citizens at 5,000 addresses from door to door to fulfill the requirements of the Ministry for constructive reconstruction…” stressed Korlaet.

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