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Commissioner Johannes Hahn is in Croatia on 24 and 25 May to meet the new national authorities after the December 2011 elections - the President, the Prime Minister and Members of the Government as well as Members of the Parliament. Since Croatia will most probably join the EU in July 2013, Croatia will have full access to Cohesion policy for 6 months in the current programming period 2007-2013.

The Commissioner will therefore encourage Croatia to carry on preparing future cohesion policy programmes from which Croatia will benefit after it has joined the EU and, at the same time, to speed up implementation of the projects currently receiving support. He will also visit EU co-funded projects, notably the Zagreb Main Railway Station.


What are the country's priorities?

Croatia currently has a GDP per inhabitant worth 64% of the EU average. The country has a population of 4.3 million inhabitants. Croatia has a stable market economy. Croatia was strongly affected by the economic crisis but its impact has been mitigated by a resilient banking sector and strong foreign reserves.

Enhanced structural reforms and the adoption of a credible medium-term fiscal strategy would be essential to improve its competitiveness.


How does EU regional policy contribute?

Until it joins the EU, Croatia will receive support from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). IPA programmes are based on five components: transition and institution-building, regional development, regional and cross-border cooperation, human resources development, and rural development. These programmes, which operate along similar lines to those of European regional policy, give Croatia the opportunity to “learn by doing”. They represent annual support worth some 150 million euro.

  • The programme for the environment helps maximum benefit to be derived from the country’s scant available water and waste management resources. It also helps Croatia to bring itself into line with European environmental legislation.
  • The programme for transport prioritises the connection of national routes with Trans-European transport networks (TEN-T).
  • The programme for Regional Competitiveness helps to promote greater competitiveness and more harmonious regional development. Its main point of focus is support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

    Croatia is also involved in cross-border programmes with Slovenia and Hungary and takes part in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.


    Project examples

    • Replacement of the signalling and interlocking system in the Zagreb main rail station: EU contribution EUR 9,898,046

      This project will be visited by Commissioner Hahn. Due to the bad condition of the signaling system, the speed at Zagreb Main Station is limited to 30 km/h. Because of its poor condition and age, the replacement of the existing interlocking system has to precede any track or platform reconstruction work. Hence, the project is only the first phase of Zagreb Main Station reconstruction and will cover mainly the upgrading of the signaling and interlocking systems.

    • Marasca sour cherry as ingredient for functional food: EU contribution EUR 484,231

      This project will also be visited by Commissioner Hahn. It is led by the Centre for nutritional technology and biotechnology in Zadar which has recognized that Marasca sour cherry, an Indigenous Croatian variety, beside its gastronomic properties, has many medicinal qualities like for example anti-inflammatory characteristics and rich in anti-oxidants which stimulate cell regeneration. IPA funding helps developing two new products on the basis of Marasca sour cherries: lyophilized and dehydrated Mascara sour cherries. Not only scientific research has been initiated, but also the results will have positive economic impacts in the region with the use of Marasca sour cherry on the food industry and new motivation for to local producers to cultivate this cherry variety.

    • Water supply and sewerage improvements and construction of a wastewater treatment plant in the town of Drniš:
      EU contribution EUR 4,746,960

      The main objectives of this project are the improvement and modernisation of the water supply system in order to ensure the functionality of the entire system and achieve acceptable water losses (from more than 48% to less than 25%) as well as the connection of 3,860 new inhabitants to the sewerage system in Drniš. The consumption of energy required for pumping will be reduced and the existing sewerage system modernised in order to manage the installations more efficiently. This project finally contributes to the implementation of EU legislation, in particular the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

    • Technology park / BISC Nova Gradiška EU contribution EUR 800,000

      Brod-Posavina County, one of the least developed counties in Croatia, will benefit from the settlement of a technology park in Nova Gradiška. The technology park aims at advancing the competitiveness in the region and therefore creating growth and jobs. It will enable small and medium-sized busi¬nesses from the county to resolve in one place their production, design, legal, financial, managerial and any other business problems in cooperation with science and research institutions. Besides small and medium-sized business, potential beneficiaries of the Nova Gradiška Technology Park are craftsmen, employees, trainees and students, who will be able to gain additional education and training in the technology park.


    Further information