Minister Finds Excuses for Poor Absorption of EU Funds

By 29 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 29, 2019 - The results so far in absorbing European funds are not satisfactory but more projects are being contracted and this year great headway can be expected in that segment, Croatian Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac said in Brussels on Wednesday.

Žalac held talks with European Commission for Regional and Urban Policy Corina Cretu about the successfulness of absorbing European funds, the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014 - 2020, the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem project, the law on the development of the eastern Croatia city of Vukovar and a long-term EU financial framework for the period after 2020.

A total of 10.7 billion euro has been made available to Croatia in this programme period. Of that amount, only 39% has been contracted so far.

"The objective is to contract 60% of the available funds by the end of the year. As for the payout to beneficiaries, we are standing at 10% and as for the final stage in that process, namely from the moment the funds are granted to the actual payout into the state budget, we are only at 7.5% which places us at the bottom of the list of the EU member states," Žalac told the press after talks with Cretu.

The reason behind that is the fact that funds from the 2014-2020 period were starting to get contracted only in 2017 because before that the goal was to spend the allocated funds from the previous period.

Žalac said she and Cretu agreed that 2018 was the key year in which great headway must be made, notably in applying large strategic projects. We will talk about that on 2 May at the committee on monitoring our operational programme," Žalac said.