Commission approves Croatia’s plan for EU cohesion policy investment of 450m euro to deliver growth and jobs
The European Commission has approved Croatia’s investment plan to use EU cohesion policy funds worth €449.4m allocated to the country when it joined the EU on 1st July 2013. The National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) prepared by the Croatian authorities sets out the investment priorities for Croatia’s regions in order to accelerate economic growth and create employment, boosting the country’s overall competitiveness. Strategic projects with clear, pre-defined goals matching these priorities must quickly be identified so as to make the best use of this valuable investment by the 2016 deadline.
Commenting on the move, Commissioner Johannes Hahn said: “This is a crucial first step for Croatia on the path to competitiveness. Cohesion policy funds must be invested where most needed to strengthen the local economy, increase labour market participation and to capitalise on the nation’s assets, such as the preservation and promotion of natural resources to boost the tourism industry and business support to help SMEs thrive”.
Cohesion Fund (€149.8m) investments will go towards waste and wastewater management, as well as improvement of the water supply. The European Regional Development Fund (€228.4m) will be invested in business support for SMEs, research and innovation, along with more basic infrastructures, such as railway and waterways. The European Social Fund (€60m) will support job creation and invest in social inclusion and education projects.
Croatia joins the current financial period of cohesion policy only six months before its end, which means, in keeping with EU rules - all projects selected for investment should be completed by the end of 2016.