ECA Finds Weaknesses in Cohesion Allocation Calculations, Croatia to Get 6% Less

By 8 October 2019

ZAGREB, October 8, 2019 - The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has established certain weaknesses in the calculation of cohesion policy allocations which Croatia can use as an argument in the debate on the multiannual financial framework, ECA member Ivana Maletić said on Monday.

Under the European Commission's proposal, Croatia should receive in the 2021-27 multiannual financial framework about 6% less funds as part of the cohesion policy than in the current one. Although Croatia is in the group of countries with Bulgaria and Romania, whose GDP is below 60% of the EU average, the other two countries should receive 8% more.

Presenting a report on the execution of the 2018 EU budget, Maletić said the ECA found weaknesses in the calculation and that as the country presiding the EU next year, Croatia could ask for a correction.

The report shows that absorption of cohesion funds was low and Croatia is ranked last as to funds paid out, which is no surprise given that contracting gained momentum only in 2017 and 2018, she said.

According to Commission data from the end of June, Croatia contracted 78% and paid out 25% of the funds envisaged in the 2014-20 period.

Of the 11 member states which use structural and investment funds the most, the most successful in contracting is Hungary (109%), followed by Latvia (85%), Romania (83%), Poland (79%), Croatia, Estonia and Slovakia (78%), Slovenia and Lithuania (77%), Bulgaria (72%) and the Czech Republic (71%).

As for funds paid, Estonia is first (40%), followed by Lithuania (39%), Latvia (38%), Hungary and Bulgaria (33%), Poland and the Czech Republic (32%), Slovenia (29%), Romania (27%), Slovakia (26%) and Croatia (25%).

In its draft for the 2021-27 multiannual financial framework, the Commission proposes for the first time linking fund allocation and the rule of law, a sort of message to member states which the Commission believes bring the independence of the judiciary into question.

Maletić said this was not a good idea, claiming that end users and not states would be punished. She suggested, instead, that state which did not respect the rule of law pay more into the EU budget.

More news about European Union funds can be found in the Politics section.