The government adopted a decision to accept a letter expressing interest submitting a request for Croatia's membership of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which Croatia should join in the first quarter of next year.
The ESM is an intergovernmental organisation established by the euro area member states in 2012. Its mission is to enable the countries of the euro area to avoid and overcome financial crises and to maintain long-term financial stability and prosperity.
The ESM provides loans and other types of financial assistance to member states in a difficult financial situation.
ESM shareholders are exclusively countries of the euro area. Croatia will join the euro area on 1 January 2023 and it is expected it will join the ESM in Q1 2023.
Finance Minister Marko Primorac said after a government session that the ESM had a total capital of nearly €705 billion, which consists of more than €80 billion of paid-in capital ensured by ESM members and nearly €624 billion of callable capital.
Every member contributes to ESM capital based on its share in the total EU population and GDP. Since Croatia’s GDP per capita is below 75% of the EU average, we will have the possibility of a temporary correction of the capital contribution key for a period of 12 years, until 2035, said the minister.
Croatia will, pay in a contribution of €419 million.
The ESM provides us with additional insurance in case of financial crises, inability to access the capital markets, or financial difficulties, so that is a long-term benefit and has a positive effect on our credit rating, Primorac said.
As for the government’s decision made today, which established criteria for the allocation of assistance to local units for functional and real consolidation, he said that the money granted for functional consolidation depends on the number of functions that would be common and the number of local units involved in the agreement. The assistance will be provided for financing employees in charge of those functions.
According to him, the package for real consolidation is “generous”, and it provides assistance for settling outstanding credit and financial obligations on 30 June 2022. It also includes additional assistance in the form of current and capital transfers and aid totaling double the amount the smaller local unit received under the fiscal equalisation programme, as well as capital aid of HRK 7.5 million.