Brussels (Brussels Morning) Croatia is lacking a cohesive plan for absorbing about 22 billion euro of EU funds in the coming years, according to an EDJNet report last month. The country stands to receive approximately 12.7 billion euro from the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for development and some 9.4 billion from the Next Generation EU recovery instrument for coronavirus pandemic-related transfers.
In addition, 683 million euro has been allocated to Croatia from the EU Solidarity Fund for rebuilding the capital of Zagreb following the earthquake that struck in the spring of last year.
Despite the EU approving the funds months ago, Croatia has yet to draw up plans for absorbing the money. Croatia’s Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds launched a public discussion on the National Development Strategy in November last year. The ensuing document was supposed to present the foundation for absorbing EU Multiannual Financial Framework funds.
In addition to the National Development Strategy, Croatia was to prepare the National Recovery and Resilience Plan to help it absorb the money from the EU Next Generation instrument. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković now claims the document will be drawn up by April of this year.
The National Development Strategy has been mired in bureaucracy since 2017 and makes no mention of important issues like immigration policy, yet the government paid the authors 4.5 million euro for the job.
The document would likely not have been drawn up at all were it not a prerequisite for absorbing EU funds.
The rebuilding of Zagreb
The estimated cost of the reconstruction of homes in Zagreb stands at just over 1.1 billion euro, with about half of the sum to come from the EU Solidarity Fund. According to regulations on rebuilding the capital which were adopted in September last year, 60% of the money for rebuilding private homes will come from the state, 20% from the City of Zagreb and local government units, and 20% from their owners.
Darko Horvat, Minister of Construction, Physical Planning and State Property, has announced that rebuilding efforts are scheduled to start in the spring of this year, approximately one year after the earthquake.