ZAGREB, Oct 6 (Croatia Sun News) – Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic opened the Regional Development and EU Funds Days in Sibenik on Saturday, saying that Eurosceptics are probably unaware that, since 2004, new EU Member States have received €365 billion in development funds from the EU budget.
The conference was organised by the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry.
Plenkovic said that four months ago in Warsaw the prime minister of Poland organised a meeting to which he invited the EU member states which joined since 2004, adding that the prime ministers attending gave their views of their countries before and after joining the EU.
He said the meeting was closed, “unfortunately”, and that had it not been, “Eurosceptics would have opened their eyes and realised how much their societies have been transformed. Those countries have received €365 billion from the EU budget and there is no other organisation, or anyone, who would have poured so much money into new member states.”
Plenkovic said EU funds were the point. “In mid-2016, 9% of the projects were contracted, that is HRK 61 billion. In the meantime, this has risen to about 70%. That is the amount of money that will be spent, enabling new and better development.”
Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Marko Pavic said EU funds were indeed changing Croatia and that the incumbent government had made a real step forward in this respect.
“We see that every day in the construction of numerous structures, road construction, HRK 365 million for the Peljesac Bridge, we are earmarking HRK 1.7 billion for health, over one billion for e-schools, HRK 680 million for the curricular reform, there has never been more money for employment. One billion kuna is for our farmers, 200 new kindergartens,” Pavic said.
The new national development strategy until 2030 envisages creating jobs with added value and, at the prime minister’s initiative, demography is part of the European Commission’s programme, Pavic said.
As for preparations for the new mutilannual financial framework, he said that “construction and employment must go hand in hand. More attention must be paid to pensioners because they make up a third of the population and only 2% of organisations deal with them.”
“I have already announced a college for the administration of EU funds, which doesn’t exist in Europe. This will strengthen Croatia’s capacities and administration for the implementation of EU projects,” Pavic added.