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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 30 October 2014

European Commission adopts ‘Partnership Agreement’ with Croatia on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014-2020

The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with Croatia setting down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds throughout the country. Today’s agreement paves the way for investing €8.6 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 (current prices, including European Territorial Cooperation funding and the allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative). Croatia also receives €2 billion for rural development and €252.6 million for the fisheries and the maritime sector.

The EU investments are aimed to boost the competitiveness, develop an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy, support active employment measures and fight against social exclusion.

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are:

• The European Regional Development Fund

• The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

• The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

Commenting on the adoption, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: "Today we have adopted a vital investment plan that sets Croatia on the path to jobs and growth for the next 10 years. This Partnership Agreement reflects the European Commission and Croatia's joint determination to make the most efficient use of EU funding. Our investments must be strategic, according to the new Cohesion Policy- focusing on the real economy, on sustainable growth and investing in people. But we must focus on quality not speed in the coming months, as we plan the investments from the European Structural and Investment Funds in 2014-2020. Commitment is needed on all sides to ensure good quality programmes are put in place.”

He continued: “The ERDF and Cohesion Fund in Croatia will be invested in research and innovation, support to entrepreneurship, e-economy, trans-European and urban transport, as well as the protection of the natural resources of the country. These investments will support the national reforms and efforts to develop a knowledge and innovation-based economy. I count on the national authorities to ensure that this comprehensive EU investment strategy has a positive impact on the economy and on the lives of Croatia’s citizens. Future programmes must translate this strategic plan into concrete actions and provide the right conditions for an efficient management and delivery of the funds on the ground."

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor said: "I am glad to see that Croatia has decided to dedicate more than 1.5 billion (1.516.033.072 which is 25.9% of all Structural Funds) to the European Social Fund. As a matter of fact, human capital is a key driver for economic recovery and the European Social Fund is the main EU instrument for investment in people.

In Croatia, the ESF support will focus on promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting access to employment for job-seekers and inactive people and creating opportunities for young people, including through the Youth Employment Initiative. Modernisation of labour market institutions is also a focus for ESF in Croatia, as well as improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration and judiciary. Moreover, the ESF will help Croatia investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning. ESF will also play a crucial role to strengthen social inclusion, and help to fight against poverty. In all, the ESF will address many of the challenges that are subject to Country Specific Recommendations and back Croatia to ensure that ESF-funded actions can have a significant impact towards meeting the EU2020 employment and poverty targets. I would like to say that I really appreciated the good cooperation we have had with the Croatian authorities so far in preparing the programming documents for the next challenging years."

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş said:"Today we have adopted the Partnership Agreement of Croatia which shows how the country will be spending the European Structural and Investment Funds during its first programming cycle as a fully-fledged Member State. The ESI Funds are expected to constitute an important share of the public investments in Croatia and the Partnership Agreement outlines the Croatian strategy for using them in a meaningful, coordinated and efficient way, striving for best value for money and addressing immediate priorities. As Croatia is a highly rural country and its agricultural sector accounts for 5.5% of the GDP and nearly 14% of the labour force, the EU rural development funding will contribute to increasing the competitiveness of Croatia's agri-food sector, including via farm restructuring and support for a more balanced and environmentally-friendly development. In addition, investments in development of small-scale infrastructure and local basic services in rural areas will help improve the quality of life in Croatia's rural areas and boost their economic revival.

Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said: "The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will invest in the Croatian fishing and maritime industry to generate sustainable growth and jobs in the maritime economy and the country's coastal communities. This is a real opportunity and challenge for Croatia to boost its Blue economy by building on its long maritime and fishing traditions. The EMFF will support these efforts whilst also investing in innovation to reduce the impact of fishing activities on the marine environment."

More information:

MEMO on Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes

Cohesion Policy and Croatia

European Commission- Croatia Partnership Agreement and Summary

Contacts : Shirin Wheeler (+32 460 76 65 65) – Jonathan Todd (+32 4989 94107)

Roger Waite (+32 4989 61404) – Helene Banner (+32 4607 52407)

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