17:21 / 20.09.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

EC confirms it received request from Croatia for payment of EUR 700 million

The European Commission building

The European Commission building

Foto: Dmitry Rukhlenko / Shutterstock

On Tuesday, the European Commission confirmed that it had received a request from Croatia for the payment of the second installment of 700 million euros as part of the funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Program.

This is the second Croatian request for payment after 25 default reforms were implemented in the first half of the year. Croatia has so far received an advance of EUR 800 million and the first tranche of EUR 700 million from the Next Generation EU instrument.

The commission now has two months to analyze the request, and then it will send its preliminary assessment of Croatia's fulfillment of the key points and objectives necessary for that payment to the Economic and Financial Committee.

The request for the payment of the second tranche refers to the fulfillment of 25 reforms and goals, foreseen by the National Recovery and Resilience Program. Among other things, this includes the adoption of a new law on social welfare and training of social experts, as well as decisions on incentives for voluntary functional merger of local self-government units.

There are also some energy measures such as the assessment of obstacles to the application of renewable energy sources and the adoption of a strategy for hydrogen.

From the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism of the European Union, around 5.5 billion euros in grants are available to Croatia to finance reforms and related investments.

Reforms and investments are defined in the National Recovery and Resilience Program, which was completed at the end of April last year, the European Commission adopted it in July, and already in September last year Croatia was paid an advance of EUR 818 million.

The EC proposes an additional EUR 550 million to Croatia from the SURE program

On Tuesday, the European Commission proposed to allocate an additional EUR 550 million to Croatia under the Instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), which would bring the total amount of support to EUR 1.6 billion.

The SURE instrument was established in May 2020 at the beginning of the COVID pandemic so that Member States could receive help in the form of soft loans to deal with the sharp increase in public expenditure due to the preservation of jobs.

Member States can use this instrument to cover costs directly related to the financing of national short-time programs and other similar measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the Council accepts the proposal, Croatia will receive financial support in the form of loans on favorable terms. This loan will help Croatia cover costs, primarily incurred in 2021, related to the continuation of reduced working hours and wage subsidy programs introduced in response to the COVID pandemic.

Croatia was previously granted EUR 1.02 billion under SURE, which was paid in two tranches.

The Commission also proposed an additional EUR 142 million for Lithuania under the same instrument.

Source: HRT

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