Friday, 10 June 2022

15 Contracts Awarded for Island Development Projects

ZAGREB, 9 June 2022 - Minister of Regional Development and European Union Funds Nataša Tramišak on Thursday awarded 15 contracts at the Split-Dalmatia County offices from the Island Development Programme for financing small capital infrastructure projects.

The Ministry implements the program once a year, and its goal is to enable island communities to implement small capital infrastructure projects in an attempt to systematically reduce regional development inequalities and differences in Croatia.

This year, a total of 56 projects were selected. Along with the 15 projects in Split-Dalmatia County another 41 projects were selected for Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Lika-Senj, Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties.

"These funds are for investments in the small municipal infrastructure that makes everyday life easier. Islanders are having their settlements beautified and in some way the level of development raised, but we know that the needs to live on the islands are much bigger," said Tramišak.

She underscored that, along with state funds, a total of €150 million will be available from the European Regional Development Fund, because the Integrated Territorial Programme for Islands in the period from 2021 to 2027 is one of the programs planned for funding in the new European Union program period.

This year the Island Development Programme received a record number of applications, Tramišak underscored.

"There are more and more applications, both from local government units and businessmen, more than 500 this year. This is a sign to us that we need to further strengthen and increase these programs," she said.

The state budget for 2022 has HRK 17.6 million available for the Island Development Programme.

Among the selected projects in Split-Dalmatia County, the largest possible amount of HRK 450,000 was allocated for the completion of the Pučišća Stonemason's School on the island of Brač, the reconstruction and energy renovation of the Starine Business Zone on Vis island, a playground next to the kindergarten in Bol on Brač, and the second phase of construction and equipping the Borići Park in Nerežišće. Other projects will be financed with amounts of HRK 105,000 to 420,000.

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Thursday, 24 March 2022

Tramišak Confirms She Has Reported Threats To Police

ZAGREB, 24 March 2022 - EU Funds and Regional Development Minister Nataša Tramišak confirmed on Thursday that she had reported the threats she had been receiving since last summer, to the police,  however, she stopped short of revealing the identity of who was making the threatens.

"The threats started in early September, I cannot say who made them," she told the N1 broadcaster on Thursday, explaining that the threat in reference to blood-shedding was made in January.

The minister said that it was unpleasant to hear such things, however, they did not make her hesitant to continue conducting her ministerial duties.

As for the media reports that she said she would seek political asylum in Brussels in response to the person who made the threats against her, the minister explained the statement was taken out of context.

"I do not plan to leave Croatia. Sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment," she said.

Tramišak also explained that she did not contact the police or other authorities since the threats had were not direct.

She admitted that she could not deny the media reports about the threats when this became breaking news on Wednesday.

As for speculation that the threats were the outcome of internal wrangling inside the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) after she did not extend a contract for the engagement of the private Omega Software company,  she only said that media outlets had already commented on that in the past.

The Wednesday issue of the Jutarnji List daily said that the problems for Minister Tramišak started when she decided not to extend a contract for the eFond information system with the Omega Software company and awarded it to the state-run Financial Agency (FINA).

Fina was awarded this job after it already started working on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).

"It was logical that we should not advertise a public call for that job, as there were indications that only one company would apply, and in those situations, we cannot comply with the principles of public procurement. Also, Fina is capable of doing the job. As a result, we signed the relevant agreement with Fina," she said.

As for media claims that former HDZ official Milijan Brkic threatened Tramišak and that Prime Minister Zvonimir Savić was also implicated in conveying the threatening messages, Tramišak told the N1 that she had never met with Brkić, and that Savić was also a special adviser to the ministry and that he had never threatened her.

 

Politics: For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Minister Tramišak Says She Has Received Threats

ZAGREB, 23 March 2022 - Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak has confirmed for the Jutarnji List daily that she has received threats which she hasn't officially reported yet, saying that the problems started when she did not extend a contract with the Omega Software company.

"Unfortunately, I can't say that the rumours of the threats I am receiving as reported by the Nacional weekly aren't true. I have been receiving indirect threats for months now and all because of business decisions I make as Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds. The last one I received said '... There will be blood...' and was conveyed to me by a man whom I'd rather not name but who was in the ministry in January this year," said Tramišak.

The Wednesday issue of the Jutarnji List daily said that the problems for Minister Tramišak started when she decided not to extend a contract for the eFond information system with the Omega Software company and awarded it to the Financial Agency (FINA).

Not one of the threats were directed or sent to her personally, so she did not officially report them.

"However, in that last conversation with that man and following his comment that 'there will be blood', I said I would then seek asylum in Brussels," said Minister Tramišak.

She said that she did not discuss this with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković but had told her friends and colleagues about it.

"I didn't discuss the threats with Prime Minister Plenković," she said, stressing that she had a few witnesses who were present at the meetings when the threats were conveyed to her.

Asked whether she would name the persons conveying the threats, if they were the people the Nacional weekly wrote about and if speculation was true that it was Milijan Brkić, Tramišak said that she had never spoken with Brkić.

"I heard from FINA unofficially that Brkić had met with them when we terminated our cooperation with Omega Software and hired FINA," said Tramišak.

There is no official confirmation that Brkić allegedly conveyed the threats.

The Jutarnji List tried to contact Brkić but he did not respond to its calls or messages.

Plenković's advisor Zvonimir Savić has frequently visited the ministry, however, Tramišak said that the purpose of his business visits was of a completely different nature.

"I don't know who is behind those messages. I don't know if Omega Software - which has in the meantime reportedly changed its owner - has a shadow owner, but the messages aren't stopping, in fact, they have intensified and I do not feel comfortable," she said.

Omega Software was taken over by the M SAN Group in October.

Omega Software said they cannot comment on "unverified and sensationalist media reports" of which they have no knowledge, claiming that someone evidently wanted to slur the company's reputation, the Jutarnji List daily said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

"Croatian Island Product" Designation Awarded to Another 78 Products

ZAGREB, 3 Jan 2022 - Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak has granted the right for 78 products nominated by 23 producers to be labeled "Croatian Island Product", her ministry said on Monday.

A total of 320 producers of 1,094 products from 24 Croatian Adriatic islands and the Pelješac peninsula now have the right to display the Croatian Island Product designation on their products.

A public call for the award of this designation was open from 7 to 29 October, and 27 applications were submitted by island producers who nominated a total of 86 products.

The products were grouped into four categories - applied art and design (51 products by 10 producers), food products (18 products by 12 producers), chemical products (15 products by 3 producers), and beverages (2 products by as many producers).

The applications were examined by competent commissions, which forwarded their proposals to Minister Tramišak based on which she decided to award the Croatian Island Product designation to 78 new products.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Contracts for Co-financing Implementation of EU Projects Presented in Osijek

ZAGREB, 6 Sept 2021 - The Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds, Nataša Tramišak, on Monday presented Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić with six contracts for co-financing the implementation of EU projects at the local and regional level.

The contracts concern projects in which the Osijek-Baranja County administration is the holder or beneficiary of grant contracts, and their total value is HRK 10.9 million.

According to Minister Tramišak, the most valuable contract concerns the construction of a business center in Osijek. The project is worth HRK 65.5 million, of which HRK 45 million has been secured from the EU's Competitiveness and Cohesion operational program and the City of Osijek's ITU mechanism, while HRK 9.3 million will come from the state budget.

The center is expected to be built and become fully operational in a year's time and serve as a venue for trade shows and similar events.

Tramišak said that 49 contracts for co-financing EU projects in Osijek-Baranja County, worth over HRK 78 million in total, would be presented soon. She added that their purpose was to support local government units and their utility companies in the successful implementation of EU projects.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Friday, 20 August 2021

Over €1Bn To Be Set Aside for Development of Islands Until 2027

ZAGREB, 20 Aug, 2021 - EU Funds and Regional Development Minister Nataša Tramišak said on Friday in Split that HRK 7.8 billion would be earmarked for development projects on Croatian islands until 2027.

The national plan for the development of islands will provide a scope for investments, and we have assessed that 7.8 billion kuna will be necessary for the implementation of measures envisaged by the plan. However, that amount is not definite and other ministries are expected to make contributions to additional investments in compliance with the money made available in EU funds until 2027, Minister Tramišak told the press.

Tramišak held the news conference after she awarded seven contracts, worth HRK 22 million in total, on regulating the state's co-funding of the EU-funded projects.

The total value of those seven projects which will be implemented in Split-Dalmatia County stands at 223 million kuna, and 140 million will be covered by EU funding.

After Split, Tramišak travelled to Hvar for a ceremony of awarding HRK 4 million worth of contracts on that island.

The registry of islands and the national island development plan will be presented at that ceremony.

More than six billion kuna was invested from national funds into different activities and projects for the islands in the 2016-2020 period.

Croatia has 1,244 islands, and 45 islands are permanently or temporarily inhabited, with 51 maritime routes, 58 community health centres, 102 primary and 13 high schools, and 23 care homes.

(€ 1 = HRK 7.482172)

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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.

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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Investment in Petrinja Infrastructure, Reconstruction Announced

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak met with Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović on Thursday to discuss an intervention plan for the reconstruction of the city after a devastating earthquake in December, after which a group of disgruntled people verbally attacked the mayor.

The intervention plan is aimed at the social and economic regeneration of small towns, it was said.

The minister said Petrinja had been implementing HRK 140 million worth of EU-funded projects until 2020 and that several more remained to be contracted.

She said the goal was to utilise the funds available until the end of 2023 in the Petrinja area and invest in infrastructure and ongoing projects.

Tramišak said €111 million had been ensured for building new state-owned flats in Petrinja, Sisak, Glina and other towns affected by the earthquake.

If standardised buildings and houses will be built, construction could begin soon, she added.

Mayor Dumbović said he was satisfied with the solutions proposed and that the Culture Ministry had promised that Petrinja would look as it did before the earthquake. 

Mayor verbally attacked by protesters

Several dozen protesters rallied outside the venue of the meeting, complaining about the lack of transparency in decisions concerning the right to reconstruction aid and about the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The demonstrators blocked the exit of the fire station where the meeting was taking place, preventing the mayor's car from leaving the venue and announcing new protests.

Dumbović told the RTL commercial television channel in the evening that the incident was politically motivated. Asked who was behind the demonstration, he named Luca Gašpar Šako, the local coordinator of the opposition Bridge party.

"They are not aware of the damage individuals are doing to Petrinja. Petrinja did not deserve this. It turns out that we are lawless cowboys wanting to achieve something by force," the mayor said. 

Monday, 18 January 2021

Minister Says Housing Reconstruction Could Start in Early Summer

ZAGREB, 18 January, 2021 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak said on Monday that the reconstruction of the quake-struck Sisak-Moslavina County could start in the second half of the year, in early summer.

"We will primarily seek funding available under EU programmes. We are speaking about €111 million to be used for housing reconstruction, that is, construction or renovation of the housing stock... to provide for the elderly, the feeble, the disabled, marginalised groups, members of ethnic minorities, etc," the minister told reporters before a government session.

She explained that the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion was being amended and that measures were being awaited that would define reconstruction models.

"The funds are already available, we are now waiting for the programme to be finalised," Tramišak said, adding that an informal dialogue with the European Commission had already started.

The EC is willing to change operational programmes and implementation could start this year, she said.

Asked when the first houses could be rebuilt, she said that their construction could start in the second half of the year, possibly in spring or summer.

"It all depends on how quickly we will design the model house and interview people interested in that type of housing construction. We are talking about the construction of new sections of settlements and about state-owned flats and houses, similar to how the Central State Office for Housing has done so far, giving every year a certain number of state-owned houses and flats for use to families in need," she explained.

Asked how much of an obstacle unclear property-rights relations could be, she said that she was talking about the construction of entire sections of settlements or the renovation of existing state-owned housing units, where there were no unclear property-rights relations.

As for the EU Solidarity Fund, she said that a full appraisal of the damage caused by the 29 December 2020 earthquake was being awaited, after which it would be sent to the Fund.

She explained that money from the Solidarity Fund, unlike the funding the state already has for family houses, was intended for the reconstruction of public infrastructure and buildings.

The Solidarity Fund is notified about the amount of total direct damage caused to public buildings, business facilities and family houses, and that amount must exceed HRK 2.3 billion, which is already turning out to be the case, the minister said, adding that the EC then approved aid in the amount of six percent at the most.

Aid in the amount of between 2 to 3% of the estimated damage will be used for public infrastructure, she said. 

Significant budget funds will be required as well, and significant funding can also be sought under the new programming period 2021-2027 that is being worked on, Tramišak said.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Contracts on EU Funds Worth HRK 73 mn Presented to Health Ministry, Zagreb Hospital

ZAGREB, November 20, 2020 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Natasa Tramisak on Friday presented contracts on EU funds worth HRK 73 million for new healthcare projects to Zagreb's Dr Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases and the Health Ministry.

"The coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness of the need to invest more in the health system, in Croatia and the EU alike. We are therefore using all available money from European structural and investment funds," Tramisak said at the contract-awarding ceremony.

She said the contracts would help the hospital continue boosting its capacity and procuring new equipment as well as the Health Ministry buy the necessary equipment, such as a linear accelerator for the KBC Rebro hospital.

Tramisak said projects worth more than 3 billion kuna had been agreed for the health system, with 2.7 billion being grants.

The latest contracts are valued at more than HRK 73 million, and almost 100% of the contract value are grants.

The minister said that apart from a HRK 369 million contract signed last week for the procurement of protective equipment, her ministry had asked the EU Solidarity Fund for an additional €39 million if the procurement of additional equipment should prove to be necessary.

The contract for the Health Ministry is worth HRK 23.7 million and will be entirely financed with EU funds.

The contract for the Dr Fran Mihaljevic hospital is worth HRK 50 million, and EU grants amount to HRK 49.6 million. The funding will help adapt part of the hospital infrastructure and almost half of the funds will be used to buy valuable diagnostic equipment, the hospital's director, Alemka Markotic, said.

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