(26 August 2013) – The European Commission has today 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 outlines three strategic goals: strengthening economic competitiveness; establishing optimal economic conditions for job creation and employability; and achieving balanced regional development. Its adoption paves the way for implementation of strategic operational programmes in: “environment”, “transport”, “regional competitiveness” and “human resources”, with a further breakdown of investment priority axes and project selection criteria.
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.