(Source European Commission)
The European Commission has today endorsed a positive preliminary assessment of Croatia’s payment request for €700 million in grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU.
On 15 March, Croatia submitted to the Commission a payment request based on the achievement of the 33 milestones and one target selected in the Council Implementing Decision for the first instalment. They cover reforms in the areas of health, social policy, adult education, public administration, anti-corruption, fiscal, audit and control, anti-money laundering, energy, transport, water and waste management as well as energy efficiency of buildings.
With their request, the Croatian authorities provided detailed and comprehensive evidence demonstrating the fulfilment of the 34 milestones and targets. The Commission has thoroughly assessed this information before presenting its positive preliminary assessment of the payment request.
The Croatian recovery and resilience plan includes a wide range of investment and reform measures in six thematic components. The plan will be supported by up to €6.3 billion in grants, 13% of which (€818 million) was disbursed to Croatia in pre-financing on 28 September 2021.
Payments under the RRF are performance-based and contingent on Member States implementing the investments and reforms outlined in their respective recovery and resilience plans.
The Commission has now sent its positive preliminary assessment of Croatia’s fulfilment of the milestones and targets required for this payment to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), asking for its opinion. The EFC’s opinion, to be delivered within a maximum of four weeks, should be taken into account in the Commission’s assessment. Following the EFC’s opinion, the Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee. Following the adoption of the decision by the Commission, the disbursement to Croatia can take place.
The Commission will assess further payment requests by Croatia based on the fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in the Council Implementing Decision, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms.
The amounts disbursed to Member States are published in the Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard, which shows progress in the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plans.
Members of the College said
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “I have good news for Croatia: as soon as Member States give their green light, it will receive €700 million in grants under NextGenerationEU. Croatia has made swift progress in implementing the reforms and investments of its national recovery plan. For instance, it has taken important steps to strengthen the labour market and enhance social protection. Croatia has also adopted a national programme for the energy renovation of buildings and a plan to improve road safety. This is the first payment, and more will come. So keep up the good work and congratulations!”
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People said: “Another positive step for Europe’s economic resilience as Croatia achieves the first milestones and target set out in its national recovery plan – congratulations. These will promote Croatia’s green transition in particular, with reforms in its energy, transport and water sectors along with energy renovation programmes for buildings. Croatia has also taken steps to tighten up on anti-money laundering, fight corruption and improve the governance of state-owned businesses: all helping to make its economy more efficient. Once the Commission’s assessment is reviewed and approved by Member States, Croatia should receive €700 million in grants to help make its economy more inclusive and resilient for many years to come.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “This is an important moment in the roll-out of Croatia’s ambitious recovery and resilience plan. Our positive preliminary assessment of Croatia’s first payment request found that the country has successfully implemented the required 34 milestones and targets. These include a new Energy Efficiency Programme and a Waste Act that will support the green transition, as well as a number of measures to enhance education, employment and social protection. Once the relevant procedures are finalised, we will be able to make a payment of EUR 700 million. As the global economic and geopolitical context becomes more uncertain, delivering on Croatia’s reform and investment agenda is more crucial than ever.”
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