EC and Croatia sign €9bn partnership agreement

NEWS 29.09.2022 22:09
Source: JOHN THYS / AFP / ilustracija

The European Commission and Croatia have signed a partnership agreement that will allow Croatia to use €9 billion in grants from EU funds until 2027.

The agreement was signed by European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira and Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramisak at a special cabinet meeting in Zagreb on Thursday.

Under the agreement, Croatia will receive €9 billion from Cohesion Policy funds in 2021-2027 to promote the economic, social and territorial cohesion of its regions and its green and digital transition.

These investments should help reduce regional economic disparities and enhance skills, training, and employment opportunities. The EU funds will also support the development of a competitive, innovative, and export-oriented Croatian economy.

Of the €9 billion, €2.56 billion is intended for mitigating climate change, €2.5 billion for jobs and equality, €1.74 million for an innovative and smart economy, and €1.34 billion for transport.

In his opening remarks at the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that the €9 billion represents 17 per cent of the Croatian GDP, adding that together with other sources of financing Croatia will have €25 billion available for development over the next decade.

Plenkovic said that a balanced development is one of the main components of his government’s policy, stressing that it is crucial that all parts of Croatia have equal development opportunities.

‘More than just money’

Ferreira said that the agreement is “much more than just money”, representing what Croatia wants to be, the positive moment in the life of Croatia, and paving the way for investment and balanced development.

She said that the agreement has three ambitions. The first ambition is to create “a smarter and more competitive Croatia” by diversifying and digitalising its economy and expanding its economic base beyond the tourism industry.

The second ambition is to make Croatia greener in the transition “towards a net zero economy”, while the third ambition is to increase the employability of Croatian people, their skills and competencies.

Tramisak said that the agreement is opening up opportunities for the transformation of society and development of Croatian regions, especially those underdeveloped ones.

Initial calls under the financial framework 2021-2027 are expected before the end of this year and applications will be invited at the start of 2023. The funding from the new envelope will need to be used by 2030.


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