Large part of money from EU funds to go through construction sector, minister says

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(Hina) - A large part of the money from EU funds will go through the construction sector, Construction Minister Branko Bačić said on Thursday at the 17th Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers Days.

In the next seven years, €25 billion in EU funds is available to Croatia and a large part will go through developers' hands, he said.

In 2022, 11,600 building permits were issued and the volume of construction works was €6 billion, Bačić said, adding that almost 10% of Croatia's GDP is in the hands of developers and other stakeholders in the construction sector.

The sector employs 140,000 people, including 50,000 foreigners, and a large part of public infrastructure works rests on EU funds, he said.

Other sectors are also facing labour shortages and the many outstanding issues will need quality responses, he added.

Bačić said his ministry currently prioritised post-earthquake reconstruction and that the reconstruction of a large part of public buildings and infrastructure was being financed from the European Solidarity Fund.

Participating in a round table on big infrastructure projects, he said a lot was being built in Croatia, both publicly and privately. Over 20,000 flats are being built annually, he added.

Asked about the biggest project, Bačić said a railway from the northern Adriatic port of Rijeka to the Hungarian border was the most important for Croatia's strategic and economic development.

For every euro that comes to Rijeka, agents, freight forwarders, shipping companies, hauliers and other stakeholders get 20 euros, which is why it is important to complete the terminal in Rijeka and build the railway, he said.