Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Tomislav Tolusic on Tuesday announced significant easing of procedures for the absorption of EU funds, saying that he expected the most from new tenders for entrepreneurs who until now have, in his opinion, fallen short.
"It won't, for example, be necessary to obtain a letter of intent from a bank nor for entrepreneurs to provide a deposit as was the case until now. We are reducing the number of steps in decision-making and limits from HRK 1.5 million or HRK 500,000 to HRK 300,000, while we are increasing the upper ceiling from HRK 15 million to HRK 30 million," Tolusic told reporters. He expects that that number of days required to approve applications will be reduced from 180 days to 90 days initially and later to 60 days.
He reiterated that procedures are overcomplicated and that over the past two months a great deal had been done to simplify them. "Perhaps this isn't evident in the field yet, but will be visible in new tenders," the minister said. This year he expects 200 calls for applications, whereas last year there were 50.
He hopes that this year entrepreneurs would absorb almost half a billion kuna compared with the HRK 57 million absorbed in 2015.
Tolusic said that he was especially pleased with cooperation with the European Commission which, as he said, "knows some of our problems better than we do ourselves." He added that the ministry had 1,736 current projects registered in its database that have been issued building permits and were valued at between 2.5 and 3 billion euros.
He estimates that before the year's end around 900 million to 1 billion euros could be absorbed from EU funds, but that a problem could arise and slow down that process with regard to property ownership matters.
He reiterated that of the 10.7 billion euros at Croatia's disposal, last year only EUR 146 million was absorbed. However, he commended the former government for the many projects that have been contracted.