European Union Solidarity Fund
Remediation of the consequences of the December 2020 earthquakeIn accordance with the Conclusion of the Croatian Government of 18 March 2021, the Republic of Croatia sent to the European Commission a request for funds from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the remediation of damages caused by the series of earthquakes in Sisak-Moslavina County starting on 28 December 2020, together with the request for advance payment.
The estimated value of total direct damages caused by the Petrinja earthquake, in accordance with EU rules, amounts to HRK 41.6 billion (HRK 41,633,410,427.00) and EUR 5.5 billion (EUR 5,508,740,811.00), which represents 10.21% of GNI (gross national income) of Croatia.
Following the request from the Republic of Croatia, on 29 October 2021 the European Commission proposed to the European Parliament and the Council that Croatia be allocated the requested amount of aid of EUR 319.2 million from the European Solidarity Fund. The procedure for approving this proposal was completed on 14 December 2021 by adopting the Decision on granting financial support by the European Parliament.
An advance of EUR 41 million EUR (41.325.507.00 EUR) was paid to the Republic of Croatia on 2 August 2021, while the remainder of 277.8 million EUR was paid on 30 December 2021.
The use of assistance funds is directed towards the reconstruction of infrastructure and public institutions in the area of the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County, Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County, Karlovac County, Varaždin County, Međimurje County, Brod-Posavina County, Koprivnica-Križevci County and Bjelovar-Bilogora County for:
- returning to the correct working order of infrastructure and facilities in the energy sector, in the field of water supply, waste water management, telecommunications, transport, health and education;
- the provision of temporary accommodation and the financing of rescue services, to cover the needs of the affected population;
- ensuring preventive infrastructure and measures for the protection of cultural heritage;
- cleaning up disaster-affected areas, including natural areas, in accordance with, where appropriate, ecosystem-based approaches and the urgent restoration of affected natural areas in order to avoid immediate effects of soil erosion.
By Government Decision of 24 November 2021 (Official Gazette 127/21, 143/21) the implementation system has been defined. The Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets is the National Coordinating Body, while the competent line ministries are designated for the implementation of the financial contribution under their competence. Common national implementation rules were adopted on 28 December 2021.
On 5 January 2022, the respective line ministries announced 12 public calls for the reconstruction of buildings in the fields of education, cultural heritage, energy sector, transport infrastructure, telecommunications and health, and for the purpose of ensuring temporary accommodation, financing rescue services as well as cleaning disaster-stricken areas and restoring affected natural areas in order to avoid direct effects of soil erosion.
In the preparation of the calls themselves, all bodies that have already incurred costs eligible for the Solidarity Fund have been considered, in order to ensure by refund of such costs the speedy realisation and to primarily refund funds already invested, as well as to secure part of the funds for new contracting.
According to available data, out of the already incurred or contracted costs amounting to about EUR 240 million, nearly EUR 80 million have so far been spent on operations whose financing is eligible from the Solidarity Fund, whereas projections of needs for concrete projects expressed on the earthquake affected area range up to EUR 760 million.
Under the said calls, a total of 134 project proposals, worth a total of about HRK 1.3 billion, were received by 25 January 2022.
The deadline for the use of the European Solidarity Fund grants expires after 18 months from the date of award, i.e. at the end of June 2023.