A total of 35 agreements for projects valued at more than HRK 793 million, to be co-financed with HRK 696 million in grants or 85% from European structural and investment funds over the next 5 years, were signed at the government headquarters on Thursday. The director of the Central Finance and Contracting Agency (SAFU), Tomislav Petric, signed all the agreements with the relevant institutions that will be implementing the projects, while the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Grabrijela Zalac, the Minister of Science and Education, Blazenka Divjak and Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic co-signed them. The projects relate to the development of research centres, equipment for hospitals and clinics, the conservation of cultural and natural heritage, the construction of student dorms and development of a judicial e-register.
All the signatories agreed that this was an important event for Croatia and the institutions in question. Among the 35 projects, 10 relate to research centres, which will receive about 50 million euro (HRK 373 million), HRK 317.5 million of which will come from European funds. Dr. Stipan Jonjic, head of the research centre for immunology and vaccines, pointed out the difference in funding between so-called 'old' and new EU member states. He underscored that 13 'new' member states absorb less than 5% of the money allocated for research projects.
Petric said that he was glad that he could sign such valuable agreements and added that they could have been signed a few years ago but tenders had not been issued at the time.
The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds has over the past few years advertised tenders which have resulted in SAFU having HRK 11.5 billion in agreements, which is an increase of 10%, Petric said. He announced that this is not the end and that there is still an entire quarter before the end of the year and that he hopes that SAFU will sign more project agreements before the end of the year.