Grants launched in Croatia
Croatia became the 16th beneficiary country of the EEA and Norway Grants today following the signing of agreements in Zagreb this afternoon.
In the period up to 2017, Croatia is to receive a total of €9.6 million through the EEA and Norway Grants for use on a number of different projects. Key areas of support under the agreements signed between the three donors - Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - and Croatia include green industry innovation, civil society and the justice sector.
"These financial instruments will strengthen Croatia's capacities in the fields of innovation, justice and education as well as open new channels of cooperation between Croatia and countries of the EEA, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein," said Croatian Deputy Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Jakša Puljiz.
Some €1.7 million has been allocated to the establishment of a national centre of expertise on the environment, marine and maritime research and innovation, to be based in the Croatian town of Sibenik. Situated on the Adriatic coast, Sibenik is a popular tourist destination, but the town has found it difficult to attract and retain skilled workers.
The centre will seek to establish cooperation with Norwegian partners with a view to developing joint education and research programmes. It will also promote technological development and business cooperation by offering premises to companies in their start-up phase.
Other projects covered by the agreements:
- Justice sector reform (€3.2 million)
Improvements to the courthouse infrastructure in Karlovac will help to reduce the amount of time spent on processing cases and safeguard people’s protection under the law. Experts from the Council of Europe will also assist with the introduction of efficient case processing procedures, which will be adopted by other courts in due course.
- Integrated schools (€1.3 million)
The establishment of a school in Vukovar with joint classes and a joint syllabus for Croatian and Serbian children will help to enhance understanding between the ethnic groups in the city. A similar project will also be developed in the town of Knin.
- Civil society (€1.3 million)
Project funding will be allocated through open calls for proposals. The projects will seek to strengthen NGOs and make them better able to influence developments in the areas of social justice, democracy and environmental protection/climate change. €100 000 has been earmarked for projects designed to address the needs of the Roma.
- Decent work and tripartite dialogue (€0.1 million)
The project will seek to enhance dialogue and cooperation between the social partners in Croatia, including employer and employee organisations and public authorities. The project will be implemented in cooperation with Norwegian partners.
€100 000 from the bilateral funds has also been allocated to promote cooperation on geothermal energy between Iceland and Croatia.