Top-level authorities need to be educated about the absorption of European Union funds, Croatian MEP Ivana Maletic said at a conference on EU funds which was held in Zagreb on Monday.
“We lack in managerial skills at all levels. We need training, and when it is organised, senior officials fail to attend such events,” Maletic said.
The attendees also concluded it was important that end-users are provided with full technical support in preparing and implementing European projects, since they are often not provided with satisfactory answers, and face delays in the payment of funds.
“When it comes to the absorption of EU funds, it is necessary to be fast and focused,” Maletic said.
She added that not all problems could be solved with EU money, but that the country should focus on a few priorities in their absorption.
Bozana Beslic of the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development said that the end-beneficiaries of EU funds met with difficulties when seeking information about project preparation and implementation.
Croatia has over 18 billion kuna (€2.4 billion) at its disposal for agriculture and rural development, said another member of the agency, Sasa Bukovac, adding that to date, contracts had been concluded for projects worth more than 9 billion kuna (€1.2 billion).
(€1 = 7.42 kuna)