5th high-level meeting held with the European Commission on post-earthquake reconstruction in Croatia

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High-level representatives from the European Commission expressed their satisfaction with the progress on implementation of the EUSF aid and especially with the system established for coordination and monitoring.

The 5th follow up high-level meeting with the European Commission on reconstruction and recovery after the earthquake in Croatia was organized by the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets in Zagreb on Friday, 16 December 2022, in a hybrid format.

The aim of the meeting was to exchange information on the progress of the implementation of financial aid from EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF), to discuss the challenges the stakeholders involved in the process are faced with, to outline the measures and actions taken so far, and to present the next steps to follow.

The meeting was chaired by minister Ivan Paladina, who is the head of the ministry responsible for Coordination of implementation of the EUSF aid, while the European Commission delegation was led by Ms Sofia Alves, Director for administrative capacity building and programmes implementation II in the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO).

After the introductory presentations of Minister Paladina and Director Alves, special adviser to the Prime Minister of the Croatian Government Zvonimir Savić addressed the meeting and presented an overview of investments in rebuilding and reconstruction from the National Recovery and Resilience Programme (NRRP) and the goals achieved so far.

Minister Paladina presented the state of play on implementation of the EUSF aid and stated that the current total use of the allocations from the EUSF is 34% (37% for the Zagreb earthquake and 28% for the Petrinja earthquake), i.e. EUR 325 million. He pointed out that the absorption trend has been improved in recent months, and the increase in the number of projects in the phase of construction works indicates a continuation of the growth trend.

The total allocation for both earthquakes is around EUR 1 billion, the worth of 1,249 projects contracted is around EUR 2,735 billion, out of which EUR 1,5 billion is eligible for financing from the EUSF and EUR 818 million from the NRRP, indicating an overbooking of EUR 1,2 billion (EUR 520 million from the EUSF and EUR 568 million from the NRRP), which will ensure the overall utilisation of the allocations granted.

The Minister presented Governmental measures which support the reconstruction after the earthquake and use of grants from the EUSF and those available from the NRRP, providing additional national funds for overbooking. Also, there were some other measures taken by the Ministry (MPPCSA) and other implementing bodies.

Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Deputy Mayor of the City of Zagreb Luka Korlaet, State Secretary at the Ministry of Health Tomislav Dulibić, Director at the Ministry of Science and Education Hrvoje Meštrić, State Secretary Ivo Milatić from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and Director Damir Šoštarić from the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure presented the state of play on the projects in their respective competencies as well as the expected further progress by the end of June 2023.

The participants were also addressed by Iva Novak, Director at the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, and Dragan Jelić, acting Director of Central Finance and Contracting Agency (CFCA), obtaining the role of an independent audit body in the implementation of the EUSF aid.

Representatives of the European Commission expressed their satisfaction with the progress on implementation of the EUSF aid and in particular with the system established for coordination and monitoring of progress on reconstruction after the earthquake, and invited all stakeholders to continue the positive trend and also to re-allocate funds from projects whose realization will not meet the deadline to those already finished or the realization of which is at an advanced stage, making the use of grant more certain.

Representatives of several directorates of the European Commission, the Ministry of Finance, CFCA and other implementing bodies attended the meeting, via video conference.

From the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets, along with Minister Paladina, the meeting was also attended by State Secretary Dunja Magaš, Director Irena Križ Šelendić, Head of Sector Maja Buterin Kranjec and Heads of Services Katarina Ravnjak and Ingrid Gojević.

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