Croatian Craft Owners Also Want Access to European Union Cash

By 18 March 2021

March the 18th, 2021 - Croatian craft owners want their own slice of the EU funds cash pie as they feel they're being held hostage to various systemic restraints put in place by the government.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, numerous Croatian craft owners are set to end up in precarious positions in their expansion, even in terms of their export activities if the government fails to support them.

Leverage from their own capital is nowhere near enough, while on the other hand most of them don't plan to borrow, so the projects remain in the drawer, with everyone waiting for the outcome.

In order to push them with their own participation, there is a great interest among Croatian craft owners for non-refundable cash injections from European Union (EU) funds, and as a result, talks on this topic are expected from the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts in the Government.

The key issue is the tender threshold, how to lower it from the existing one million kuna down to 150,000 kuna, which would ensure access to a large number of small entities to calls for such grants.

Results of the HOK survey

Through the Chamber's research on a sample of 1772 Croatian craft owners, the planned investments in property were crystallised - from the purchase of equipment and machinery to the reconstruction and construction of production facilities, in relation to which their participation in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) is required.

Unofficially, based on the value of the projects surveyed, it is an item which stands at approximately 100 million euros, while it is estimated that for this year the amount of non-refundable money would be in the range of 6 to 10 billion kuna, ie in seven years - about six billion euros.

In anticipation of answers to the problems of this group of entrepreneurs and the Chamber's proposal to advise the Prime Minister, they currently don't have an appointment, but will a joint solution with the government, in accordance with the intentions of this initiative led by HOK leader Dragutin Ranogajc, projects, which would be reflected on other small entities, will be seen quickly.

The predictable total value of the projects, according to the research, which would cover the needs of most Croatian craft owners, is from 150,000 to 750,000 kuna.

Croatian craft owners, they claim, are ready to immediately invest their own funds through co-financing these projects, but they also pointed out that more than 73 percent of the respondents aren't planning to use financial instruments.

The preparation of the necessary documentation

That is why HOK, as they say, is making efforts in the preparation of documentation in the field of drafting programming documents for the financial period of the EU 2021-2027.

The goal is to adequately identify the needs of Croatian craft owners and to provide them with appropriate calls for the allocation of EU money, which presupposes intervention to reduce the criteria to the previously mentioned 150,000 kuna.

They have previously warned that it is necessary to adjust the terms of the tender to Croatian craft owners, because according to Ranogajc, it must be borne in mind that "the economy is only as resistant as the smallest of its subjects are."

This approach is supported by economist Ljubo Jurcic, accompanied by the warning that without a systematic approach, there will be no great benefits to be had. He says that a system that produces added value should be built, in which the role of Croatian craft owners should be envisaged, who, he claims, also need a cash injection to cover the damage caused by the blockade due to the coronavirus crisis, in order to preserve any sort of pre-pandemic economic position.

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