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.