Daily: EU has no restrictions on how Croatia spends its €6bn recovery funding

NEWS 05.03.2021 11:29
Source: Morgue File

Brussels will leave it to Zagreb to decide on how to distribute funds from the EU Recovery Fund meant to help countries deal with the effects of the pandemic, meaning that there are no EU-mandated restrictions on aid to businesses, the Friday issue of the Jutarnji List daily said, and the state agency Hina reported.

“There are no strict limits in drafting the national recovery and resilience plan, through which around 45 billion kuna (€6 billion) of EU funds will be made available to Croatia to help it recover from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, in terms of how much funds can be allocated to the public or private sectors, as there is no such distinction in EU regulations,” Jutarnji List said.

This is based on a reply from the European Commission to the daily, after the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) had asked the government to earmark at least 50 percent of the available funding for direct grants backing investments in the private sector, instead of spending most of it on the public sector.

This debunks an earlier view of Croatian negotiators also published by Jutarnji List, which announced that businesses would have access, through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, to direct grants and loan subsidies up to the maximum total amount of 4.5 billion kuna (€600 million), or just 10 percent of the funding made available by the EU. In citing this figure, Croatian negotiators said this was due to restrictions imposed by the European Commission.

PM Andrej Plenkovic’s advisor and national coordinator for the plan, Zvonimir Savic, later said that around 30 percent of the funding could potentially end up in the private sector, if “one takes into account the involvement of businesses in planned public projects,” in the areas of research and development, energy transition, innovative tourism projects, and “stronger” food supply chains, Jutarnji said, as quoted by Hina.

(€1 = 7.57 kuna)


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