Senj Best Croatian Town in Use of EU Funds

By 15 May 2017

Senj is followed by Skradin and Križevci.

The use of EU funds is a topic which is the basis for many pre-election promises and manifestos. Politicians always like to brag how much EU money they have managed to take for their towns and municipalities. However, their claims should be taken with caution because data shows that not all local government units are created equal when it comes to EU funds management, reports Jutarnji List on May 15, 2017.

A year ago, the Institute for Public Finances published an analysis of the use of EU funds for the period from 2011 to 2014, which showed that as much as 85 percent of municipalities and more than half of towns did not use a single euro available to them in the period. Counties had somewhat better results and only two did not use the money at all – Zadar County and Lika-Senj County.

The latest analysis uses the data from the Ministry of Finance on the execution of local budgets for the period from 2013 to 2015. This analysis has also shown that there is a problem with the absorption of EU funds. Namely, from 2013 to 2015, as many as 58 towns did not use a single euro.

But, there are much better examples as well. The best town in Croatia by usage of EU funds in the period from 2013 to 2015 is Senj, which, on average, received 4.5 million kuna per year for EU projects. Given the number of inhabitants, that is about 628 kuna per capita per year, or about 200 kuna more than the second-placed Skradin. Križevci is at the third place with 305 kuna per capita from EU funds. The three best towns are followed by Vodice, Trilj, Opuzen, Kastav, Lipik, Jastrebarsko and Orahovica.

According to the Acting Mayor Filip Samaržija, the excellent results in Senj are a result of the dedication and work of the local administration staff and the Town Development Agency headed by director Dorotea Prpić. In the last mayoral term, Senj implemented several major projects, including further development of the local sewerage system, which was financed 100 percent by EU funds.

Mayor of Križevci Branko Hrg pointed out that since 2007 they had seen ten major projects come to fruition, and at the beginning of March this year, the town received approval for a project for the construction of pedestrian and cycling paths worth 12,100,000 kuna.

“Reconstruction of the gardens of the Erdody Castle, the installation of new lighting systems on sacral buildings, and the development of inclusive kindergarten models have enabled us to use more than 15 million kuna in the past years,” said Mayor of Jastrebarsko Zvonimir Novosel.

Mayor of Zadar Božidar Kalmeta points out that so far, his town has used about 70 million kuna from EU funds. They recently received EU money for the Zadar Heritage project, which includes the renovation of the Providur Palace. The total value of the project is 66 million kuna, with about 56 million coming from the EU funds.

Looking at absolute numbers, regardless of the number of inhabitants, the most money from EU funds has been withdrawn by Zagreb, Križevci, Senj, Osijek, Zadar, Karlovac, Jastrebarsko, Trilj, Kastav and Vodice.

Mayor of Karlovac Damir Jelić said that the most successful EU project in his town is Aquatika, a unique freshwater aquarium worth 36.7 million kuna, of which 36.2 million was co-financed by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund. “Since 2013, the total value of the contracted projects in Karlovac is 91.4 million kuna,” Jelić said.