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Photograph: Photo by Alex Guibord, used under CC BY-ND

The Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry said on Wednesday that Croatia had withdrawn EUR 506 million from EU funds in the first five months of 2016, noting that this indicated that the absorption rate would grow significantly in comparison to the previous years.

"According to data from the Finance Ministry, in the first five months of 2016, Croatia withdrew a total of EUR 506 million euros from EU funds. In 2015 Croatia withdrew only 558 million euros, and in 2014 EUR 548 million was absorbed, so this is a great success for the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry and other bodies involved in the system of management and control of EU funds," the ministry said in the statement.

It said that since its accession to the EU in 2013, Croatia had withdrawn from EU funds annually just above the amount it had to pay into the EU budget, and that the result in the first five months of this year "shows the good work that has been done so far and indicates that the absorption of EU funds will grow significantly and encourage investments and the country's economic recovery."

Most of the EUR 506 million will be used for projects related to transport and environmental protection, development of entrepreneurship, investments in the renovation of student dormitories, research projects etc.

"These figures show that Croatia has the possibility to grow and develop into a competitive regional leader with the help of EU funds," Minister Tomislav Tolusic said.

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