Bačić: 70% more funds than allocated spent on post-quake reconstruction in Petrinja

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(Hina) - Croatia successfully utilised the money from the EU Solidarity Fund for post-earthquake reconstruction, with 70% more funds than those allocated spent in the Petrinja area alone, Construction Minister Branko Bačić said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the press while visiting construction sites in the area, he said €319 million was approved for the Petrinja earthquake and that €542 million, "which is 70% more than the funds allocated," was spent to finish numerous projects by the deadline.

The projects that have not been completed will be financed from the state budget, Bačić said, adding that €1.2 billion from the National Recovery and Resilience Fund will be spent on the reconstruction of public sector buildings.

The town of Petrinja will sign an agreement on behalf of the state to rebuild private buildings, apartment buildings and family houses in the town centre, he said, adding that works are under way at 618 construction sites in the Banovina region.

"The projects offered are worth about €7 billion," Bačić said, adding that works are not fast enough due to a shortage of contractors.

As for the interrupted construction of a new primary school in Petrinja being built by Hungarians, allegedly because Croatia will not pay VAT, he said there was no project that would not be completed with the government's engagement.

The resumption of construction is being agreed with representatives of the Hungarian government and the Croatian government stands ready to ensure all additional funding, either through VAT or co-financing, Bačić said, confident the school would be completed by September.

Before visiting the construction sites, he met with Petrinja Mayor Magdalena Komes. "We applied works worth €45 million and €24 million worth was realised by 30 June. The works are not stopping, but now they will be financed from state sources. They are proceeding at a good pace, so we expect them to be completed within the envisaged deadlines," she said.