Four days and nights and more than 90 hours of negotiations have produced an agreement that has both pleased central and eastern EU member states, as well as those in western Europe advocating for a more frugal budget and recovery plan.
Speaking to reporters after the deal was reached, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that Croatia achieved an "unprecedented success," securing more than double the amount of EU funds it has received in seven years of membership: “It we add the slightly more than 12.6 billion from the seven-year budget to the 9.4 billion from the 'Next Generation EU' instrument, we arrive at a sum of more than 22 billion Euros.”
Plenković said that the budget and fund were an excellent indicator of solidarity within the EU, and that the 22 billion total for Croatia was the result of a strong and well argumented position by the country's diplomacy: “We will use both of these instruments to enter into a speedy economic recovery on the basis of a national plan and recovery program, which will be formulated during the fall. This success is additionally important, because we managed to have one entire paragraph in the European Council's conclusions dedicated solely to Croatia. Here we received an additional 400 million Euros for our regions that require additional support. These are areas suffering from depopulation and precisely because of that we will direct those funds into these areas.”
Finance Minister Zdravko Marić outlined which areas the 22 billion Euros would be focused on: “Measures to preserve jobs, to finance a shortened work week, there will be an emphasis on structural reforms, including education, research and development, and of course there is infrastructure, both digital and other segments, as well as equal regional development.”
According to the Finance Ministry's projections Croatia will pay roughly 660 million Euros into the EU budget per year over the next seven years, which totals approximately 4.6 billion Euros.
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