Monday, 21 June 2021

Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) to be First Nearly Zero Energy Building in Croatia

June 21, 2021 - An exciting new step for Croatian energy efficiency is happening at the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP), as the Institute makes significant changes to its building which will also help to educate other experts for energy efficiency.

As the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) gave great support and input in REPLACE Project that brings energy efficiency to Rijeka and Kvarner region, just put a new log in Croatian energetic efficiency. The start of June saw the contract for granting non-returnable funds for founding nZEB- the National Training Center on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, EIHP reported on its website. The project is financed from the „Energy and Climate Change“ Fund, part of the Financial Mechanisms 2014 – 2021 in Croatia, courtesy of the European Economic Area (EEA).

1,600,000 Euros is the total value of this project on which EIHP collaborates with the Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Zagreb. The goal is to empower all the actors in reconstructing buildings to meet the nZEB standard.

With the center being established in the building of the Požar Institute undergoing reconstruction at the moment, it will be a vivid example of the modern technologies that are implemented in nZEB design.

„We will show and share with the widest professional community the solutions that will be developed through this project. The whole process of reconstruction will be followed and documented, and detailed, and serve as an example in the training program as the Institute becomes the first public building in Croatia reconstructed in such a manner. With the appliance of green energy technologies (electrification of heating and cooling systems with a crane that uses shallow geothermal source, integrated photo charged electric plant on the roof, energy containers, efficient lighting), we also wish to include E-mobility, which is certainly the future of traffic as well as accomplish complete digitalization of all technical systems the building is using. That way, the building will be the showcase example of the double transition – green and digital“; said the EIHP headmaster, Dražen Jakšić.

Jakšić attended the signing of the contract, along with the regional development Minister Nataša Tramišak, Norwegian Ambassador Haakon Blankenburg (as Norway also supports the Financial Mechanisms 2014 – 2021), Ministry secretary of economy and sustainable growth dr. Mario šiljeg, and the Faculty of Civil Engineering dean dr. Stjepan Lakušić.

„After this pandemic, we will not develop by repeating the things from before. A historical change is afoot, and we will meet it with green development and with new 'Green Deal'“, concluded Jakšić while Minister Tramišak also pointed out that securing financial mechanisms for advanced technologies and energy renewal.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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Monday, 20 April 2020

EU-Funded Projects in Croatia Going Forward

ZAGREB, April 20, 2020 - Croatian Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Marko Pavić said on Sunday that 400 million euros from EU funds had been redirected for medical equipment due to the COVID-19 epidemic, however, the EU funding of the ongoing projects was indisputable.

The funding of the existing agreements and conclusion of the planned agreements are certain, Pavić told the national broadcaster HTV on Sunday evening.

There is no question mark over any project underway, the minister said.

The beneficiaries of the projects have been given three more months for any deadlines so that there will be no need for extra paperwork or for any annexes to agreements in the current circumstances, according to the minister.

However, the situation caused by the coronavirus infection epidemic has led to the redistribution of some funds. Thus, €400 million has been reallocated for the purpose of procurement of medical equipment.

He explained that the shipments of medical and protective equipment coming from China to Croatia during the epidemic, which were not covered by donations would be covered by those redirected EU funds.

Pavić went on to say that the March rescue package also included an additional 140 million kuna for micro loans. In April, this set of measures includes 380 million kuna for that purpose to be ensured through the Croatian agency form SMEs, innovations and investments called HAMAG-BICRO agency.

Pavić expects about a billion kuna to be set aside for working capital from EU funds.

Considering employment measures, some €100 million from the European Social Fund will be made available to the Croatian Employment Service, he added.

More news about EU projects can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

"EU Funds Are Changing Croatia" Exhibition Opens in European Parliament

ZAGREB, January 22, 2020 - "EU funds are changing Croatia" is the title of an exhibition that opened in the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday evening, featuring 40 projects funded from the EU budget.

The exhibition was organised by the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds and HDZ MEPs Tomislav Sokol and Karlo Ressler, and opened by the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Marko Pavić.

Pavić and a dozen government ministers and state secretaries are presenting the priorities of the Croatian EU presidency before relevant European Parliament committees this week.

"European funds are indeed changing Croatia for the better. We can see that from these 40 photographs, including Peljeac Bridge, which will be a lasting memento of EU membership, the 'Make a Wish' women employment scheme, airports, railways, aid schemes for young farmers and entrepreneurs," Pavić said.

The minister said that contracts for 83.4 percent of funds available to Croatia had been signed so far and that over 100 percent would be signed by the end of this year. He added that over 30 percent of funds had been reimbursed, or 3.3 billion euro.

"I think we can be satisfied, given that only nine percent of funds was contracted at the time this government took office," Pavić said.

This is the first in a series of events that the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds plans to organise during the Croatian EU presidency in the first half of this year.

More news about EU funds can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

EU Funds Changing Croatia for the Better

ZAGREB, October 6, 2019 - European funds are changing Croatia for the better, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavić said at the EU Funds Fair in the coastal city of Šibenik on Sunday.

Pavić said that at the start of the term of the present government Croatia's contracting rate of European funds was 9 percent, while now it is 75 percent. A total of 22 billion kuna has been paid out, which is equivalent to the cost of six Pelješac Bridges, he added.

"EU funds are changing Croatia by improving its healthcare system, where 1.7 billion kuna has been invested, and transport infrastructure, where over 1 billion kuna has been invested. Pelješac Bridge is a lasting monument to this financial envelope," the minister said.

He went on to say that EU funds were also used to improve the education system, with over 1 billion kuna having been invested in the e-school programme, 680 million kuna in the curriculum reform and 6.5 billion kuna in employment.

Pavić said that tax cuts had left regional and local government units with 2 billion kuna which should be used to co-finance projects.

He said that a college for the administration of EU funds would be opened to facilitate the absorption of EU funding.

Šibenik is among the most successful Croatian cities in absorbing EU funds. Mayor Željko Burić said that the city had absorbed all the money it planned to under its development strategy. He said that over 1.1 billion kuna worth of investment projects were currently being implemented, including a 500 million kuna water supply and drainage project, the construction of a waste management centre, worth 200 million kuna, and the reconstruction of the city's central square, worth 50 million kuna.

More news about EU funds can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Agreements Signed in Knin to Support Entrepreneurs

ZAGREB, August 6, 2019 - Eleven agreements were signed on Monday in Knin to support entrepreneurs in the areas of Knin and Benkovac with EU grants worth 8.5 million kuna.

The agreements were signed by Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavić and representatives of 11 companies.

Pavić said that the funds would contribute to encouraging young people in the area stay there as the funds were earmarked for job creation.

"These agreements support entrepreneurship, trades and companies and the 8.5 million kuna will help create 20 new jobs and preserve 32 more," Minister Pavić said.

He explained that the funds were earmarked for areas formerly affected by the war.

Pavić expressed satisfaction that the agreements were signed in Knin on Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Veterans.

He announced that new agreements, worth more than 22 million kuna, would be signed for the Knin area soon.

More news about EU funds can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

European Funds Are Changing Croatia

ZAGREB, May 19, 2019 - European funds are the key to development, better living standards and economic growth, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday, adding that over the past 15 years the EU had invested 365 billion euro in the development of central and east European countries and that 80% of public investment in Croatia came from EU funds.

Until 2020, Croatia has 10.7 billion euro in EU funds at its disposal and it expects as much in the next seven-year budget, Plenković said at the EU Funds Open Doors Day.

"The Croatian state couldn't find that in the form of grants in any other way," he said, citing as an example the renovation of the roundabout in Zagreb's Remetinec neighbourhood, which costs 330 million kuna, of which 273 million kuna comes from EU funds and 50 million kuna from the government.

"This modernisation proves how important EU membership is and how much it improves the quality of living," Plenković said.

He announced that an agreement will be signed on Monday for the establishment of the Shared Services Centre which will coordinate and manage the utilisation of all IT applications and e-services which government institutions provide to citizens. The project is worth 360 million kuna, of which 307 million kuna comes from EU funds.

The prime minister said the EU had invested 365 billion euro in the development of central and east European countries that became member states in 2004 and 2007. "And when we know that 80% of public investment in Croatia comes thanks to the European Union, then we see that it's the key to our development, better standards and economic growth."

The EU Funds Open Doors Day was organised by the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry under the slogan "EU funds are changing Croatia".

Minister Gabrijela Žalac said that at the end of October 2018 contracted European projects were worth 7.3 billion kuna and that now the amount was 54 billion kuna. "That's 68% of the contracted allocation of 10.7 billion kuna."

The government's goal is for the contracting rate to reach 85% by the end of the year, she said, adding that applications had been called for over 88% of the allocation.

EU projects worth 1.8 billion kuna have been contracted in Zagreb, she said. "We will keep up the same tempo next year so we can contract 100% of the allocation."

The head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Branko Baričević, said the cohesion policy was one of the most successful EU policies, voicing confidence that Croatia would know how to use it. EU funds "are aimed at increasing overall prosperity and prepare the countries using them to transform their economies into self-sufficient economies," he added.

More news about Croatia and the EU funds can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Minister Satisfied with EU Funds Absorption

ZAGREB, May 2, 2019 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac said at a government meeting on Thursday that she was exceptionally satisfied with indicators of EU structural and investment funds absorption from mid-2017 to late 2018, stressing that in the said period contracts were signed for projects worth 4.3 billion euro.

Meeting its obligation to report to parliament every six months about the absorption of EU funds for the 2014-2017 period, the government sent to parliament three six-month reports for the following periods: 1 July-31 December 2017, 1 January-30 June 2018 and 1 July-31 December 2018.

According to Žalac, in the period covered by the three reports, contracts were signed for projects worth 4.3 billion euro.

End beneficiaries have received a total of 1.3 billion euro in the period from mid-2017 to late 2018. A total of 1.5 billion euro has been verified and the European Union has released 937.4 million euro.

The minister also presented data for the 2007-2013 financial period, given the N+3 rule which means that allocations are divided into annual amounts which must be spent within three years.

The minister said that the number of irregularities in funds' absorption is on a mild rise which was in correlation to a rise in the rate of the conclusion of contracts on EU funds.

More news about EU funds can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Islands Products Store to Be Opened in Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 7, 2019 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac, who toured the "Croatian Islands Products" fair in Zagreb's Ban Jelačić Square, said that her ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture planned to open a store in Zagreb with domestic island products.

The fair, featuring products from Croatian islands, is being held between March 27 and April 7 with 29 producers exhibiting their products from Vis, Lastovo, Brač, Korcula, Krk, Hvar, Prvić, Rab, Dugi Otok, Pag, Rava, Cres, Ugljan and the Pelješac peninsula.

The aim of the fair is to promote products that carry the "Croatian Island Product" label, which is awarded by the regional development ministry.

So far, 297 island products have been awarded the label which is believed to be able to increase the competitiveness of Croatia's economy, particularly island products.

Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the story of the islands was finally being told, noting that more than 120,000 people lived on them and that they generated 30% of bed nights and tourist arrivals.

More news about Croatian islands can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Interior Minister Defends Police Action in Minister Žalac Cases

ZAGREB, March 22, 2019 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Thursday that "police acted in line with the law" in the case of a recent traffic accident involving Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac and a traffic accident involving her close friend Marijana Obradović.

"With regard to the traffic accident of several weeks ago, police did all they should have done, following professional rules. After a police investigation, the case is now in the hands of prosecutorial authorities. My answer is similar as regards the other case, too," Božinović told reporters.

Speaking of the accident involving Žalac's friend, Božinović said: "As for the difference between a crime and a misdemeanour, it lies in the gravity of injuries. A lighter injury means a misdemeanour charge and a more serious injury means a criminal charge. The police are not the ones to determine the severity of injuries," said the minister.

On March 9, Žalac hit with her car a 10-year-old girl who was crossing the street in the eastern town of Vinkovci. She was driving with an expired driver's licence. After the accident, misdemeanour charges were pressed against the minister. The girl suffered a fracture to the lower leg and is recovering well.

Žalac's friend Marijana Obradović in late December 2018, while driving under the influence of alcohol, swerved off the road in the eastern municipality of Jakšić, hitting a 35-year-old woman who was walking on the pavement, after which she drove off.

Požega-Slavonia County police said in a statement that they did not press criminal charges against Obradović but rather misdemeanour charges because medical staff had described the injuries sustained by the 35-year-old as light.

More news about regional development and EU funds minister Žalac and her ever-growing list of scandals can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Minister Žalac Has “Insinuations” that Someone is Setting Her Up

ZAGREB, March 21, 2019 - Regional Development and European Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac said on Wednesday that a media lynching campaign was launched against her, and that she had insinuations that someone was setting her up, refusing to reveal any details at this moment, saying only that this could also be part of intra party conflicts.

"After the experience over the past ten days, I would absolutely say that someone is setting me up. I have some sort of insinuations," Žalac told Nova TV commercial television, adding that she suspected this was an intra-party conflict.

She declined to speak about possible reasons behind this, stressing she would refrain from it because of the latest developments which included smearing her as the minister, member of the government, her family and even involving her children.

Žalac said she did not know what the true problem was. "I have some insinuations, evidence, so when the time comes, we will talk about it. I do not know whose way I am standing in, but things are a bit clearer now. I will not say anything yet," Žalac said.

She said she was prepared to submit to the Conflict of Interest Commission receipts for leasing the luxury Mercedes parked in the front yard of hr family home in Vinkovci, worth at least 50,000 euro and owned by a company leasing luxury vehicles. The minister did not include the car in her declaration of assets. Žalac claims her mother was covering the costs of the monthly lease, under a contract that was signed to a period of one year.

Commenting on a statement by Social Democratic Party (SDP) member of the Croatian parliament Gordan Maras who said earlier on Wednesday the problem is that Josip Stojanović Jolly, the owner of the company who leased the car to the minister's parents, has been awarded a loan by the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) on whose supervisory board the minister sits.

Žalac said she knew Stojnovic, declining however that she had done any favours for him. She said that when HBOR granted a loan to Stojanović, she SDP was the ruling party and that she was not a member of the HBOR Board at the time.

Stojanović said on Wednesday that Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac had nothing to do with a Mercedes owned by his company, announcing that he would sue MP Gordan Maras of the opposition SDP party for saying that he had been awarded a loan from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) on whose supervisory board the minister sits.

"The car is owned by our car rental company and Minister Žalac has nothing to do with it. Had the minister bought the Mercedes in question, I would certainly have known about it. Until a while ago I didn't even know who has rented it, and that is Mrs Vinka Ivanković, probably the minister's mother," Stojanović told reporters in Dugopolje, near the southern coastal city of Split.

Responding to questions from the press, he said that the rental agreement was signed on 18 January 2019. He produced a copy of the agreement, but would not discuss its content, citing the confidentiality rules of the Mercedes company.

Asked how the minister could authorise him to show the agreement to the press if she had nothing to do with it, Stojanović said: "You should ask her and her mum."

SDP MP Maras said earlier in the day that the problem was that Stojanovic had been granted a loan by the HBOR on whose supervisory board the minister sits.

Commenting on his statement, Stojanović said that he would sue Maras because what he said was not true. He said that Minister Žalac was not the chair of the HBOR supervisory board at the time. "Mr Maras is uninformed. We did take a loan from the HBOR, but we repaid it before using it because it was unfavourable to us, and commercial banks gave us more favourable terms," Stojanović said.

Asked if he saw anything disputable about the fact that his company had won a tender for the purchase of 20 buses for Split's Promet municipal transport company, which will be financed with EU funding, meaning through the ministry headed by Žalac, Stojanović replied in the negative. "We responded to the tender because we cover the area stretching from Dubrovnik to Gospić, and we offered the most favourable terms," Stojanović said.

The news website said on Wednesday that last October Žalac signed an agreement for the purchase of new buses for the Promet company with EU funding; the project is worth 44 million kuna (6 million euro). It was formally announced on March 8 that the Jolly Autoline company, owned by Josip Stojanović, had won the tender, the website said.

More news about minister Žalac can be found in the Politics section.

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