The European Commission has today disbursed €818 million to Croatia in a pre-financing payment under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). This is equivalent to 13% of the country's total financial allocation under the RRF. The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Croatia's recovery and resilience plan.
Croatia is set to receive a total of €6.3 billion under the RRF. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Croatia's recovery and resilience plan.
Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80 billion in long-term funding, complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to Member States under NextGenerationEU.
The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will provide €800 billion (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across Member States. The Croatian plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies.
Supporting transformative investments and reform projects
The RRF will finance investments and reforms that are expected to have a deeply transformative effect on Croatia's economy and society. Here are some of these projects:
-Securing the green transition: The Croatian plan will invest €728 million to support sustainable mobility by upgrading railway lines, developing autonomous electric taxis with supporting infrastructure adapted for people with disabilities, installing 1,300 charging stations for electric vehicles, and introducing zero-emission vehicles and vessels.
-Supporting the digital transition: The plan will provide €126 million to improve digital connectivity of rural areas, by increasing national broadband coverage with gigabit connectivity in rural areas and the construction of electronic communications infrastructure. It will also invest €287 million to support the digital transition of the public administration, including the digitalisation of the justice system, the interoperability of the government's information systems, the deployment of the Digital Identity Card, the introduction of smart working arrangements and the creation of a one-stop-shop for all public administration's online services.
-Reinforcing economic and social resilience: The plan will provide €739 million to improve the business environment by reducing the administrative burden, lowering regulatory requirements for professional services, and increasing access to financing for businesses. It also foresees €200 million to increase the efficiency of the public sector and the justice system. The plan will also invests €277 million to support employment and social inclusion by redesigning active labour market policies to boost employment and self-employment, funding vouchers for training and upskilling programmes, improving the adequacy, targeting and coverage of social benefits and developing new social services.
Members of the College said
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I am delighted that Croatia will receive its first payment of €818 million under NextGenerationEU. Croatia is set to receive a total of €6.3 billion, making it the largest recipient of Recovery and Resilience Facility funds compared to the size of its economy. Its plan will support crucial measures that will contribute to building a greener, more digital future for all Croatian citizens. This includes reforms and investments to promote energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, improved connectivity, enhance digitalisation of the public and private sectors and increase the efficiency of the justice system. We will stand by Croatia to ensure the measures contained in this ambitious plan are fully delivered.”
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budget and Administration said: “It is great news that the NextGenerationEU funds raised on the financial market continue to reach EU countries swiftly. This is a clear demonstration of the EU delivering on the ground. I am sure our support will soon become visible in the green and digital projects that Croatia is putting into place, to the benefit of its citizens and our common future.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy said: “This first payment of €818 million marks the start of a historic injection of EU funding into Croatia, to relaunch its economy after the pandemic. The successful implementation of the recovery and resilience plan will enable Croatia to receive €6.3 billion, equal to 11.6% of the country's 2019 GDP. This money will support crucial measures to boost digitalisation, modernise energy, transport and water supply infrastructure, advance the climate transition and protect the environment.”
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