(Photo: Damir Spehar/PIXSELL) (Photo: Damir Spehar/PIXSELL)

Today marked the 9th session of the Council for Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem, the government initiative designed to coordinate and oversee the use of EU funds for development projects in five Slavonian counties.

Croatia has a total of 18.75 billion kuna available in EU development funds during the 2014-2020 financial period. So far, the country has allocated some 11 billion kuna for various projects, while 4 billion has already been paid out.

Prime Minister Plenković praised the Council for actively working to absorb EU funds: "Since the first development agreement signed back in July 2018, the value of the projects has increased from an initial value of almost 700 million kuna to more than 1 billion."

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Marko Pavić said the Operational Program for Competitiveness and Cohesion was an excellent way to develop and build the country. The minister said funds were being used to build better equipped hospitals, roads, and schools. "This is about providing concrete services to our citizens so that they can live better lives in this area," said Minister Pavić.

Meanwhile, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was also in Virovitica-Podravina County to discuss investments in social projects and demographics: "We must realize that young people, and even entire families, are leaving not only because of job opportunities and higher salaries, but because of the climate in society and dissatisfaction with politics at all levels. I am here today to send the message that we, politicians, are obliged to do everything in our power to enable Croatian regions to develop in a way that connects our youth to their homeland."

For his part, County Prefect Igor Andrović said the financing and realization of social programs and development projects would not have been possible without the government's tax reforms. Reforms, he said, "which provided more income and increased the budgets of municipalities, cities, and counties." He added that the money was spent on projects such as scholarships for students, social programs, sports, and culture.

Source: HRT