Since it was established, the European Union has been supporting important policies with mutual financial instruments, i.e. the EU funds.
On July 1st 2013, when the Republic of Croatia acceded to the European Union, the funds from the structural and investment funds were made available enabling the Croatian economy, cites, towns and municipalities to finance various projects with the aim of adapting to the EU as soon as possible and increasing competiveness.
The key EU funds for member states, including Croatia, are the following:
- 2.1. European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion and correct imbalances between EU regions. For the most part, it is aimed at infrastructural investments, both public and production investments that contribute to creation of new jobs. It supports regional and local development, development of SMEs, research and innovation, and regional competitiveness in general. It also supports territorial (cross-border and transnational) cooperation programmes between EU regions.
- 2.2. European Social Fund (ESF) aims to strengthen social cohesion, i.e. to reduce the gap in the living standard between different member states, regions, and social groups within the EU. It is primarily defined as the instrument for supporting the EU employment policy, thus supporting measures related to increasing employability.
- 2.3. Cohesion Fund (CF) – aimed at member states whose GDP per inhabitant is less than 90% of the EU average, and is focused on strengthening economic and social cohesion in the two areas that require large public infrastructural investments: transport and environment protection. It supports strategic investments in environment protection aimed at harmonization with the EU standards and increasing energy efficiency, as well as those aimed at developing trans-European transport networks and transition to clean transport.
- 2.4. European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is the financial instrument of the mutual European agricultural policy that has been putting an ever stronger emphasis on rural development since the 1980s. It promotes modernization and development of farms, strategic planning for local development of rural areas (the so-called LEADER approach), training and education of farmers, diversification of economic activities in rural areas, etc.
- E2.5. European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is a new European fund that was introduced for the first time in the financial perspective 2014 – 2020. It will support the transition of fishermen to sustainable fishing and the development of coastal communities and diversification of their economic activities. It will support projects which create new jobs and improve the quality of life on the European shores.
You can find out more about EU funds at www.strukturnifondovi.hr, on the website of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds (www.mrrfeu.hr), and on the website of the European Commission dedicated to regional policy (http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/thefunds/index_en.cfm).
For the financial period 2014 – 2020 the funds allocated to beneficiaries from the Republic of Croatia are as follows:
|European Regional Development Fund
|European Social Fund
|European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
|European Maritime and Fisheries Fund