Sunday, 24 October 2021

President Calls on Makarska Citizens to Absorb As Much EU Money As Possible

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Sunday attended the special session of the city assembly of Makarska on the occasion of the day of that Adriatic city, and commended local residents for having done a lot for their community.

Addressing the session, the president called on the local authorities and citizens to make use of the funds available under the EU funding schemes as much as possible.

"Take the money from the EU funds and be greedy within the rules," he said.

He presented that data showing that since Croatia's admission to the EU eight years ago, the money disbursed to Croatia exceeded Zagreb's contributions to the EU budget by HRK 43 billion.

This means that the payments to Croatia were by 5 billion kuna higher than Croatia's contributions annually, he said elaborating that of those 5 billion per year, three billion were earmarked for agriculture, and "you have nothing of that", he said.

He praised the current generation of Makarska citizens of being on the right track.

You live in a small and relatively wealthy community with the resources that are not unlimited, he said, among other things, urging them to rely on their own resources to upgrade their community.

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Friday, 13 August 2021

Slow Croatian Project Processing Major Issue for EU Funding Access

August the 13th, 2021 - Croatian administration is, for anyone who has had even the remotest of dealings with it, horrendously slow. The country is famous for its draconian rules and masochistic love of stamps and red tape, and needing to get anything done in a rush is outside the realm of normal expectation. Croatian project processing is unfortunately no different, and it represents a major obstacle in withdrawing EU cash.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, when it comes to the withdrawal of money from the European Structural and Investment Funds for the previous financial period (2014-2020), Croatia has shifted to a somewhat higher speed. In one year, the country has fortunately grown by almost 20 percent in terms of utilisation, Minister Natasa Tramisak recently emphasized.

However, that means more than two-fifths of the financial envelope, worth about 80 billion kuna or 10.7 billion euros, still remains to be withdrawn. So far, more than 45 billion kuna has been paid out, ie 56 percent (with 47 percent of it having been finally certified).

A kind of fuse for the maximum use of available funds in the given deadline, which is the end of 2023, is the "stock" of contracted projects. About 20 percent more than the available "quota" was agreed upon. In addition to that, the procedures for users, including the rules for public procurement, have been facilitated, and the communication of the competent ministerial department with the European Commission (EC) has been accelerated, they claim.

With the exception of things having been skewed in the sense of the context of the ongoing pandemic, the absorption process is no longer at a snail's pace, says Tramisak. She attributes the difference in terms of utilisation compared to some other EU member states to the fact that this was Croatia's very first programme perspective, while others had been transferring large projects from previous ones, so they were faster in terms of money withdrawal.

In addition, in the first two years of the past period, calls and contracted funds weren't announced at all, and this, as she points out, is difficult for Croatia to compensate for.

However, there is something obvious in the (in)efficiency of Croatia's infamous public administration in the selection procedures for projects set to be co-financed through EU funds. The results of the recently published analysis from Jaksa Puljiz, Sanja Malekovic and Sanja Tisma from the Institute for Development and International Relations are also on this track.

They analysed about thirty calls under the Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme 2014-2020 (OPCK) as the most financially important programme co-financed from the EU budget for Croatia, implemented in the period between 2014 and 2018 and worth about 12.4 billion kuna. It was confirmed that the low efficiency of the system is mostly influenced by Croatian project processing times, ie in terms of dealing with those applications. In Croatia, this implies a significantly longer time than the time prescribed by the Common National Rules, but also than the time of implementation of selection procedures that some previous studies have shown for other EU countries.

Making the first decision on funding in as many as 97 percent of the analysed calls lasted longer than 120 days for Croatia, and most often their duration was from 180 to 360 days. This is likely not a surprise to anyone who has ever tried to do, well, just about anything official here.

“These are extremely long deadlines that have numerous consequences for the absorption and the quality of project implementation. In such a long period of waiting for the beginning of their realisation, it's clear that the circumstances which are very important for successful implementation can change significantly,'' the aforementioned authors point out.

For comparison, they say that similar research once showed that in Germany, neighbouring Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia, between 31 and 49 percent of respondents using EU funds waited less than three months for their project evaluation results.

The problem of the duration of these Croatian project procedures has recently been highlighted by enterprises who have faced a drastic rise in the prices of certain industrial raw materials and construction materials this year. Some argue the issue to the extent that certain projects co-financed by European Union funds could even come into question.

"It used to happen, for example, that the tender (in terms of deadline) states that the competent authority will notify the applicant of the results of the tender within four months, and 10-12 months will elapse before its conclusion," a consultant for EU projects explains.

When it comes to tenders for businesses (not counting, therefore, public bodies and social groups), the impression, he says, is that they are better off and more consistently organised for farmers than those for enterprises or, for example, those engaged in the fishing industry.

In the Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme, which was the subject of scientific work of the IRMO analysis, the duration of selection procedures is, among other things, a consequence of the large volume of documentation required in most cases from the applicants.

In almost 60 percent of these calls, Croatian applicants quite unsurprisingly had to submit at least 11 different documents, which is quite a high number, according to the authors. Sometimes that figure is even higher, with between 16 and 20 documents needing to be submitted, and in seven percent of cases, even more paperwork than that was required in Croatia.

Nearly 40 percent of applicants stated that their entire application with all of the required attachments had more than 100 pages when complete. Among the more extensive were, for example, public calls related to the energy renovation of buildings, the promotion of sustainable development and the restoration of cultural heritage, as well as the modernisation and construction of student dormitories.

Approximately the same percentage of applications had less than 50 pages in total, which is still a lot.

There is also a large number of frequently asked questions about published invitations, which suggests that the tender documentation needed is often very unclear to applicants. In more than two thirds of the analysed calls, there were more than 100 questions asked. This shows that the Croatian project procedure is not only longer than it should be, but complex and as clear as mud. That also shouldn't come as much of a shock to most.

All this leads to changes and additions to the tender documentation, then the extension of application deadlines, and then the later contracting or later start of Croatian project implementation in relation to the original plans. In less than a quarter (23 percent) of cases, calls didn't undergo any changes, and nearly half (47 percent) underwent two or more changes, only adding to the confusion.

This also indicates that the preparation of tender documentation for competitive tenders for the state administration was a demanding task that often resulted in its amendments and the long duration of Croatian project selection procedures.

The competent ministries and state agencies received a lot of complaints due to the request for documentation that the applicants consider to be entirely necessary.

“Among such examples is the insistence on the original excerpt from the court register instead of the competent clerk simply checking it directly over the Internet. The same is true for the original BON2 certificate from the bank instead of the "downloaded" certificate from internet banking, as well as for the tax certificate confirming the absence of tax debt instead of direct verification,'' said one EU project expert.

Some changes in that direction are already being worked on, thankfully. Minister Tramisak recently said that reforms are being made so that the eFunds system is connected to all of Fina's public services, which will reduce administrative burdens. "People will just need to give their consent for documentation to be accessed online for certain items that they had to supply themselves so far,'' she assured.

For more on EU and Croatian projects, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Zagreb Zoo Celebrates 96th Birthday

ZAGREB, 12 June, 2021 - Zagreb Zoo celebrated its 96th birthday on Saturday, with Mayor Tomislav Tomašević expressing his satisfaction that the Zoo was being modernised with EU funding.

Tomašević said that the Zoo has made great progress since its beginnings when it had only three foxes and three owls. "I am really glad that the first infrastructure project in Zagreb to be funded by the EU was the Zoo," he said, adding that the project concerned the first phase of the modernisation of the Zoo worth about HRK 30 million, 95 percent of which was provided by the EU.

The mayor said that the forthcoming second phase of modernisation would be carried out in cooperation with non-governmental organisations. About 60 percent of financing would be provided by the EU and the rest by the City of Zagreb. He added that a third phase of modernisation was under preparation.

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Wednesday, 1 January 2020

EU Funds Totalling 1 Billion Kuna Allow Croatia to Purchase New Trains

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josip Bohutinski/VL writes on the 1st of January, 2020, with the help of EU funds, HZ Passenger transport will receive just over 1 billion kuna this year for the purchase of 21 brand new electric motor trains.

Out of the cohesion fund, HZ Passenger transport will receive 880.3 million kuna, ie 85 percent of the eligible costs, while the remaining 15 percent will come directly from the state budget. After signing the contract for the award of these grants of 1.03 billion kuna, HZ PP will launch an international public tender for the actual procurement of the new trains.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure says that thanks to EU funds, HZ PP will thus modernise its electric vehicle fleet with eleven suburban and ten regional trains, which will provide passengers with much more comfort, reduce their travel time, provide greater capacity and more reliable transportation, therefore improving the competitiveness of services provided by the trains overall.

They also state that the project which has been financially facilitated by the use of EU funds is a continuation of the work of addressing the advanced age of the fleet of trains. HZ PP has so far acquired 27 brand new trains, in accordance with the contract it signed back in 2014 with Končar - Electric Vehicles on the procurement of 44 new trains, worth a massive 1.6 billion kuna in total.

However, back then, only half of the amount was secured with HBOR's credit, so that in the first phase of the procurement, twenty electric motor trains were delivered for the suburban and regional lines and one diesel-electric train was procured for regional transport.

In the meantime, HZ PP secured 130.5 million kuna for the purchase of an additional four diesel-electric motor trains for regional transport without VAT with money from a World Bank loan.

Three have already been put out on the market, meaning that currently 27 new trains are currently running on Croatian railways. From the loan of the World Bank and Eurofima, HZ PP plans to realise a contract with Končar by the year 2022, which will result in the delivery of nineteen more new trains (seven diesel-electric and twelve electric motors), arriving from 2021 to 2024.

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Saturday, 16 November 2019

EU Funding "Unknown Krka" Project With 78 Million Kuna

''Unknown Krka: Hidden treasures of the upper and middle reaches of the Krka river'' is a project being run by the Krka National Park public institution co-financed under the Operational Program of Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020. Its completion is planned for the 27th of May, 2020.

As Morski writes on the 15th of November, 2019, a grant from the European Regional Development Fund in the amount of 78,620,719.12 kuna was approved, while the total project value stands at 80,057,649.15 kuna.

The project includes a series of infrastructure interventions within Krka National Park itself, the design and introduction of new presentation and interpretation facilities, properly arranging footpaths, electrifying nautical traffic and improving the park's content management and visitation system. Krka National Park has explained what the project covers in more detail below.

The construction, decoration and proper equipping of the Eco Campus "Krka" visitor centre:

With the implementation of this project, the Eco Campus will become a unique destination within Krka National Park's offer. At the moment, works on the Temple of Nature natural history and presentation centre have been completed, for which a valid occupancy permit has been issued. The reconstruction of the building and the surrounding environment of the volunteer centre and the construction of an auxiliary building (engine room) have been completed and a work permit is expected to be issued soon.

Landscaping and the construction of the water supply and hydrant network and drainage system have now also been completed. The internal fitting out of the facilities still remains, abd documentation for that is currently being prepared. The opening of the Eco Campus to the public will occur upon receipt of all of the necessary permits, and no later than the deadline for the completion of the project.

The reconstruction and equipping of the interpretation centre: Krka - the well of life:

The centre relies on the fundamental role of the Eco Campus which has the key role of providing additional attractive content in the northern part of the park through the construction of an educational and presentation centre. Construction work on the site was halted on April the 30th due to the discovery of WW2 mines, which were immediately removed by the competent authority.

An inspection found that the mines no longer contained any explosive charges and as such didn't pose a risk to life or property. The ''NP Krka'' public institution implemented all of the procedures prescribed by law for the purpose of determining the safety of the works. Due to the justified suspension of the works, the contract term was extended for a period of five months.

Given the fact that the contractor didn't sign and agree to the addition of the contract and as such didn't continue with the works stipulated by that contract, the contract was terminated. In spite of the commotion, the completion of the construction of the aforementioned centre in Kistanje is foreseen by the deadline for completion of the project.

The repair, arrangement and proper equipping of three hiking trails:

Hiking trails are an extremely important part of expanding and completing the offer in the northern part of Krka National Park. Historic trails like Rimski put, Brljan - Manojlovac and Perice enable visitors to experience active walks and provide access to gorgeous upstream waterfalls. They also connect the Nečven fort with access to the left bank of the Krka river. The hiking trails are well-maintained and properly equipped, presented and open to the public.

The electrification of vessels:

The introduction of electric vessels will significantly reduce emissions and increase the transportation capacity of visitors. The more efficient redirection of visitors will allow for an increase in the number of visitors to midstream sites. The trial run has been carried out and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure has confirmed the names of the vessels, and their licenses and certificates are being obtained by the appropriate Croatian register, after which the vessels will be presented to the public and put into service.

The improvement of content and visitor management systems:

Building the necessary capacities for the sustainable and successful management of protected area resources, the integration of the surrounding area(s) through connecting with key stakeholders from the local community and the implementation of new educational programs will contribute to improving the quality of Krka National Park's visitor services. 

It will also contribute to overall visitor safety, the better preservation of natural heritage, and will attract more visitors into the northern part of the park. Within the framework of the aforementioned activities, an evaluation of the state of the park's management system was undertaken, an analysis of the reception capacity and a visitor management study (APUP) was carried out. The presentation of that study then followed. A security report on the use of visitor content in Krka National Park was also drafted. Thematic tourism products and volunteer programs are now being designed.

Publicity/promotion and visibility:

In order to improve the publicity/promotion and visibility of the project and the Krka National Park public institution, leaflets, brochures, posters, audio-visual presentations and a promotional film will be produced owing to the project.

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Monday, 7 October 2019

Šibenik and County are Examples of Smart Use of EU Funds

Šibenik and its surroundings within the wider Šibenik-Knin County are an area for the possible extension of the implementation of the Integrated Territorial Investment Mechanism in the financial period from 2021 to 2027.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of October, 2019, the past weekend in Sibenik was marked by European Union funds as part of a three-day event organised by the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, which presented more than 300 people in the Amadria Park tourist resort with results and good examples of using funds to change Croatia for the better.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković opened the Days of Regional Development and EU Funds on Saturday, pointing out that when taking over the EU Funds management system, Croatia was only at nine percent of the projects contracted, and it is now, rather encouragingly, at 75 percent.

Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds, Marko Pavić, visited the EU Funds Fair, where 38 Croatian OPGs and entrepreneurs who have been fund beneficiaries presented themselves.

"We have been paid 22 billion kuna so far. EU funds improve health care and 1.7 billion kuna has been invested in hospitals and equipment, more than one billion kuna has been invested in transport infrastructure, and Pelješac bridge, worth 365 million kuna, is a permanent ''monument'' to this.

''EU funds are also changing education in Croatia, and as such, more than one billion kuna has been invested in the e-school program, and 680 million kuna in curricular reform. 6.5 million kuna has been allocated to employment, so EU funds are also contributing to young people staying in Croatia,'' Pavić said.

He is optimistic about the financial period from 2021 to 2027, when one of the goals will be, as he announced, a simpler application procedure. The City of Šibenik is one of the most positive examples of the use of EU funds and a pioneer in the restoration of cultural heritage in Croatia.

They restored the fortresses of St. Michael (Mihovil) and Barone, making Šibenik the only city in Croatia with two cultural monuments that are inscribed on UNESCO's prestigious list of protected monuments. The fortress of St. John, a project worth 41.5 million kuna, expected to be completed by the summer of 2021.

"Thanks to EU funds and cooperation with various ministries, the economy, tourism, and the education system have developed, new jobs have started to be created and it's becoming easier to attract young people, and in the future. we'll focus even more on helping young families,'' said Šibenik's mayor, Zeljko Buric.

Money from EU funds is being invested directly in the entire area of Šibenik-Knin County, stated Mayor Goran Pauk, and the projects are either implemented, are currently underway, or are being prepared.

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Thursday, 26 September 2019

Multiple Croatian Cities Aim for Title of EU Funds Champion

As Novac/Gradonacelnik writes on the 26th of September, 2019, let's have a look at the Croatian cities that are fighting for the title of "EU Funds Champion" in this year's Best City selection, organised by Jutarnji list in collaboration with's project and the Ipsos Agency.

The continental Croatian town of Križevci won the title of "EU Funds Champion" last year, and this year it aims to continue to defend it. The composition of the finalists this year is almost the same as it was last year, which is not surprising given that the calculation takes into account the four-year average of the use of EU funds. In addition to Križevci, Zadar and Ludbreg are once again fighting for the title, and Karlovac and Zagreb are also among the five most successful Croatian cities to use EU funds so far this year.

In recent years, Croatian cities up and down the country have recognised the importance and potential of using EU funds in financing their projects, and they are becoming more successful in doing so year after year. Last year, they withdrew more than 314 million kuna from EU funds, which is almost three times more than was withdrawn back in 2017, and almost four times more than in 2015.

The projections for this year show further growth, and the proactiveness from mayors across the country in calling people to use EU funds is on the up.

Let's take a look at the specific amounts, and mention that Croatian cities have pulled in more than one billion kuna over the four-year period currently under review. More specifically, exactly 1,004,010,921 kuna. An enormous amount of cash.

The fact that it is exactly EU projects which are the drivers of development and infrastructure in most Croatian cities is the reason why the category "EU Funds Champion" has also been introducted in a large selection of the best cities.

Consolidated city reports were used to calculate the best in this category. Croatian cities can withdraw EU funds directly or indirectly (through central government institutions), and data from 2015 to 2018 was used to calculate them. Thereafter, two indicators were created - the amount of EU funds per capita obtained by dividing the total amount of EU funds withdrawn by each city by the number of inhabitants of that city, and the share of withdrawn EU funds by each city in the total amount of all funds withdrawn from EU cities over the aforementioned four-year period.

Subsequently, these two indicators were standardised and aggregated into a common aggregate index using the methodology from the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development.

Based on these analytics and the subsequent data processing, an entrance into the finals this year was secured by the City of Karlovac, which withdrew 768 kuna per capita, and with 4.26 percent of the total amount of all withdrawn funds from the cities, Karlovac ranked among the top five.

The city of Križevci reiterated its entry into the finals, because, among other things, it withdrew 2,210 kuna per capita, it was therefore placed in the ''Top 3'' category of EU funds per capita, and in the ''Top 5'' category in terms of the share of the EU funds withdrawn.

Namely, the city achieved 4.65 percent of the total amount of withdrawn funds for all cities in the observed four-year period. The City of Ludbreg, with its realised 3,325 kuna per capita, is the best in the per capita category.

The coastal city of Zadar is among the best again this year because of its 5.91 percent of the total amount of all withdrawn funds of all Croatian cities in a four-year period.

Finally, the City of Zagreb secured its entry into the finals this year, as it withdrew as much as 18.76 percent of the total realised funds of all of the Croatian cities, thus achieving the best result in the aforementioned four-year period.

All in all, we will find out which Croatian city ranked the best in Šibenik on October the 4th, 2019, at the Days of Regional Development and European Funds event.

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Thursday, 29 August 2019

Transport Projects in Zadar County Going Ahead Thanks to EU Funds

As Morski writes on the 28th of August, 2019, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure has announced the second major investment in the improvement of the port infrastructure in the function of coastal maritime transport, and the signing of a grant contract for the project entitled "the upgrading of Sali's town port on Dugi otok", the beneficiary of which is the Zadar County Port Authority.

''The project of upgrading Sali's port on Dugi otok includes the extension of the existing port by re-constructing the coastline, arranging the coastal area along the newly built coastline, and creating a breakwater for protection against waves in order to increase the security of maritime traffic in the port of Sali,'' announced Minister Oleg Butković, who is due to arrive in Sali on Thursday.

The aforementioned intervention will provide a year-round transportation service and enable a better connection between Dugi otok and the mainland, the minister said, and continued:

''The implementation of this project will enable the better quality of public maritime transport, greater passenger safety, long-term sustainability, the improvement of the general quality of life, better transport connections between the island to the mainland, greater mobility and a positive effect on economic development. Improving the quality of Sali's port infrastructure will ensure the integration of Dugi otok into the wider transport network, which will boost local economic growth and positively affect the demographic picture, as well as the urban development of the island.

The objectives of the project are in line with local, regional, national and EU strategic documents in the transport sector, as well as with the operational program for competitiveness and cohesion (2014-2020),'' explained Butković.

The total value of the project is an enormous 56,764,614.59 kuna, of which the EU contribution is 48,249,922.40 kuna, and Croatia's national contributions amount to 8,514,692.19 kuna. The duration of the works is currently expected to be 52 months.

By signing this agreement, a total of 89,355,660.19 kuna will be invested in port infrastructure projects in Zadar County through EU funds, of which the EU contribution is a staggering 75,952,311.16 kuna, and the national contribution is an equally impressive 13,403,349.03 kuna.

''Zadar County has always been the intersection of numerous very important transport routes, supported by the current and planned investments of our ministry,'' added the minister, then going on to announce:

''The project of construction of the Tkon ferry port on the island of Pašman is underway, which will improve communication and connection with the nearby islands, all public procurement procedures have been completed and the works are proceeding in accordance with the plans which have been set out. Investments were made in the port of Gaženica. Then, there's the investment in the renovation of Liburnia Zadar's fleet, where European Union funds co-financed the procurement of 25 new buses, which will be available to the citizens of Zadar as soon as in September 2019. In addition, as part of increasing road safety, we're also investing in projects for solving black spots in Zadar County.

There are also plans to start upgrading, reconstructing and increasing the capacity of Zemunik Airport, and we're currently in the process of preparing documentation for the future establishment of railway traffic between the City of Zadar, Gaženica port, and Zadar Airport.

The fact that the ministry is also focused on further investments in Zadar County's transport projects, both nationally and through EU funds, speaks volumes about the importance of the realisation of all the above-mentioned projects. Therefore, today, we're witnessing the beginning of the implementation of another significant project in Zadar County, which will more effectively connect the citizens of this county,'' concluded the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Oleg Butković.

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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Meet The Little Croatian Towns Setting Examples with EU Projects

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 7th of August, 2019, EU funds are now imperative for certain segments of Croatian prosperity and primarily for regional development, and data from the Ministry of Finance shows the amount of funds withdrawn back in 2018.

According to the portal, referring to the competent ministry's unconsolidated data (there are no visible institutions and companies of cities or only cities as partners, so the amount is higher), in 2018 as many as 97 Croatian cities withdrew more than 314 million kuna, three times more than was recorded back in 2017. The amount of European Union support per capita is tenfold, with Komiža on Vis reaching as much as 2,505 kuna, in Pleternica 1,222, and in Lipik - 1,157 kuna per capita.

This is a significant shift, especially since Croatia is one of the less developed countries, and is located in one of the less developed regions of the EU. The most successful recapitalisation of all Croatian cities remains the most successful the Northern Adriatic city of Rijeka, with a share of more than ten percent. Osijek and Pleternica follow.

"We knew that we'd be able to count on EU funds, which is why we had a large number of ready, well prepared projects and used the opportunity that was given to us," said Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel, according to the aforementioned portal. Koprivnica's mayor, Mišel Jakšić, agrees entirely.

"This year was a record year for us when it comes to attracting European Union funds. Currently, the city has contracted 23 projects worth 61.7 million kuna, from the reconstruction of roads and energy renovations of schools and kindergartens to investments in the education system. We're the first Croatian city to have implemented the so-called innovative green public procurement through an EU project, "said Jakšić.

Ludbreg and Zadar proved to be the most successful Croatian cities in the five years of the first financial period - Ludbreg withdrew an average of 554 kuna per capita per year, and this year alone, they applied for projects worth 18 million kuna, with a focus on environmental protection and landfill remediation.

In Ludbreg, they have completed more than 40 projects in five years and continue at full steam. An 18 million kuna project will also get going there - the construction of an archeological park, ie, the reconstruction of ancient spas and the construction of a museum. This project, which should further enrich the tourist offer of the city of Ludbreg, should be completed in one year.

In five years, Zadar has gained more than a seven percent share. The projects in that city in coastal Dalmatia are aimed at rebuilding cultural and social centres; and with the reconstruction of two palaces, it became yet another Croatian UNESCO city, while further projects focused primarily on entrepreneurship.

Some of the most successful projects are being implemented by Šibenik, which this year started with the revitalisation of the Fortress of Sv. Ivan, worth a massive 49 million kuna, and, with the help of 41 million kuna from the Regional Development Fund, with the largest project of drainage and sewerage system design to date, which will make it a city with 99 percent of the population coverage by the water supply.

To briefly recall, in the 2014-2020 financial period from the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Fund, Croatia has a total of 10.676 billion kuna available to it, of which 8.38 billion kuna is for cohesion policy objectives, 2.026 billion kuna is for agriculture and rural development, and 253 million kuna is for fisheries and their development.

According to data from the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, since June, nearly two billion euros have been entered into the Croatian state budget. More than 88 percent of the total allocated funds were announced, 68 percent were contracted, 22 percent were paid to their end users, and 18 percent were certified.

Although Croatia, as the youngest member of the EU, has encountered more than one stumbling block in the road, it seems that the country has nevertheless caught up in terms of European Union funds, seeing them as an important source of funding.

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Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Regional Days of EU Funds Event Held in Dalmatian City of Šibenik

The already somewhat traditional "Regional Days of EU Funds" event is intended for all citizens interested in the possibilities of taking advantage of the Republic of Croatia's access to European Union funds. The most recent such event was held in the historic Dalmatian City of Šibenik.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of June, 2019, The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, in cooperation with the competent institutions operating within the management and control system of EU funds, as the holder of balanced regional development policy in the Republic of Croatia, has been organising informative and educational events entitled "Regional Days of EU Funds" throughout 2019.

Through numerous events, which will be organised in a total of thirty cities across Croatia, the wider public and all interested individuals will be able to get information on all funding possibilities from European Union funds in a more easily understandable and accessible way.

Free education aimed at all citizens interested in the possibilities of using EU funds was held on June the 10th, 2019 in the Juraj Šižgorić city library (Poljana 6).

The event was inaugurated by Željko Burić, Mayor of Šibenik, and Tajana Huzak, Assistant Minister of Regional Development and European Union Funds. At the end of the introductory speeches, a panel discussion entitled "The development of Šibenik through European Union Funds" was held, attended by Mira Lepur, the director of the J.U. development agency of Šibenik-Knin County; Radoslav Županović, the owner of OPG Županović; Petar Mišura, the head of the Department of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Development of the City of Šibenik; Martin Mrša, the president of the "Youth in the EU" association, and Ivan Malenica, Dean of the Polytechnic in Šibenik.

After the initial panel discussion, expert presentations entitled "EU funds as a possibility of financing" followed. Then, an integrated territorial investment program was presented by Irena Jurčić of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds. Rade Dubreta from HAMAG-BICRO spoke about the most common errors when submitting a project application, as well as the key points in project implementation, then Ivan Križanović and Domagoj Puljić from HAMAG-BICRO presented financial instruments for agriculture and rural development.

At the end of the training day, Boris Pekić from UHY Consultation held a workshop on "presenting rural development measures and application processes" with the aim of presenting the current funding opportunities within rural development measures, and introduce visitors to the application process via the AGRONET application. In conclusion, all participants at this Šibenik event had the opportunity to ask whatever questions they may have had about access to, and the use of EU funds.

Through interactive workshops, panel discussions and educational content, participants in the event also have the opportunity to exchange their own respective experiences and connect with lecturers and other participants, with the aim of enhancing collaboration at all levels and realising as many projects as possible with the help of EU funding.

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