EC official says Croatian government has done good job in earthquake reconstruction

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(Hina) - The European Commission's Director-General for Regional and Urban Policy, Sofia Alves, on Thursday praised the progress made in the earthquake reconstruction in Zagreb, after visiting several buildings under reconstruction since the strong quakes hit Croatia in 2020.

On Thursday morning, Alves, accompanied by Health Minister Vili Beroš, toured the Merkur Hospital and after that, together with Construction Minister Branko Bačić and Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, she visited several listed buildings in the Upper Town. On Thursday afternoon, the EC official is visiting the quake-affected areas in Sisak-Moslavina County.

On Friday, the Construction Ministry is hosting the 7th high-level meeting on reconstruction and recovery co-fundeed by EU funds, which will take place in Zagreb.

I think the Croatian government has done a good job in the reconstruction of historical cultural buildings. These structures will be better, with higher energy efficiency and state-of-the-art infrastructure, Alves told the press after touring the historical Upper Town.

She said that the reconstruction process was difficult and demanding.

The COVID-19 pandemic, higher costs due to rising inflation and difficulties in hiring the sufficient number of workers by builders have made the process of reconstruction more difficult, Alves said.

Minister Obuljen Koržinek said that the Solidarity Fund was tapped for structural retrofitting of over 300 listed buildings in the Zagreb and Petrinja areas. The minister thanked the EC for providing assistance from the first day of the rebuilding process.

So far, structural retrofitting has been completed at 50% of the buildings concerned and 80% of the buildings will have the structural retrofitting by the end of this year, Obuljen Koržinek said.

The future works will be financed under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) for 120 buildings, and the remainder will be covered by national funds, she added.

Minister Bačić said that the Solidarity Fund had been tapped for financing 1,330 projects, worth €3.28 billion, and Croatia had managed to finalise structural retrofitting to the largest extent within deadlines.

Further reconstruction projects will be funded from the state budget, and NRRP schemes will be used for the entire implementation of the reconstruction in the amount of €1.52 billion, Bačić said.