Even though absorption of European Union funds is growing in Croatia, it continues to be modest and as many as 85% of municipalities and more than 50% of cities have not absorbed any funds from the EU, the Institute for Public Finances (IJF) reported on Tuesday.

Local governments are absorbing more and more money from European funds: from HRK 17 million in 2011 to HRK 134 million in 2014. This, however, is still relatively poor, the IJF notes in an analysis report.

Of the total amount absorbed of HRK 309 million in that period, cities absorbed more than half or HRK 155.8 million, counties absorbed HRK 94.7 million and municipalities absorbed less than 20% of that amount or HRK 58.4 million.

Split-Dalmatia County has absorbed the most (HRK 29 million) followed by Virovitica-Podravina County (HRK 19 million).

Successful cities in absorbing EU funds include Senj (HRK 18 million) followed by Osijek, Krizevci, Zagreb and Koprivnica (HRK 10 - 11 million).

Municipalities that managed to obtain the most EU funds include Darda (HRK 6 million) and Erdut (HRK 3 million) both located in eastern Slavonia.

If we consider the average share of EU funds toward total grants received by local government units, Senj is the forerunner with EU funds accounting for 46% of the total, followed by Donji Miholjac and Jastrebarsko (over 30%). With counties however, EU funds account for very little of the total grants received. In Virovitica-Podravina County, EU funds accounted for only 7% of its grants while in Split-Dalmatia County the percentage was a mere 5%.

What is interesting is that "as many as 85% of municipalities and more than 50% of cities did not absorb one cent from EU funds," IJF underscored.

The data indicates that only 60 of the 128 cities in Croatia absorbed EU funds and only 66 municipalities of the existing 428 did.

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