Members' Research Service By / March 1, 2016

Cohesion Policy in Croatia

Written by Sorina Silvia Ionescu Croatia became the 28th EU Member State on 1 July 2013. On 26 August 2013,…

© European Union, 2013

Written by Sorina Silvia Ionescu

Croatia became the 28th EU Member State on 1 July 2013. On 26 August 2013, the European Commission approved the investment plan proposed by Croatia in the framework of the cohesion policy to deliver growth and jobs. The Croatian authorities have defined investment priorities in different regions for the implementation of EU regional funds for a total of € 449.5 million.

For the 2014-2020 programming period, Croatia has been allocated €8.6 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding (2014 prices), including European Territorial Cooperation funding and the allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative). Croatia also receives €2 billion for rural development and €252.6 million for the fisheries and the maritime sector.

This EPRS Keysource provides a selection of relevant documents regarding the EU Cohesion Policy and ESI funds in Croatia.


Regional development in EU’s border areas: Croatia as a regional model for destination branding strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Maja Pulic, EURINT Proceedings, 2015, 11 p.

Cohesion Policy in Croatia
© European Union, 2013

Perspectives for Regional Development – Regeneration challenges in war affected areas(Vukovar, Croatia) / by Marijana Sumpor, Ljiljana Blažević and Irena Đokić, EIZ – The Institute of Economics Zagreb, 2015, 30 p.

EU funds in Central and Eastern Europe: progress report 2007-2014 / KPMG in Central and Eastern Europe, 2015, 60 p. (see Croatia on pp. 22-23 and Breakdown of EU funds 2007-2013 by country )

EU funds in Central and Eastern Europe: progress report 2007-2013 / KPMG in Central and Eastern Europe, 2014, 56 p. (See Croatia on pp. 22-23 )

Cohesion Policy in Croatia: factsheet / DG Regional Policy, October 2014, 4 p.

In 2014-2020, Croatia manages two operational programmes under EU Cohesion Policy. Of these, one is multi-funded including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund, and one will receive funding from the European Social Fund (ESF).

The Role of EU Pre-accession Assistance in the Establishment of National Coordination Structures for EU Funding: The Case of Croatia / by Eleftherios Antonopoulos and John Bachtler. In: Journal of Contemporary European Research, Volume 10, Issue 2 (2014), pp. 184-202.

This article analyses the effects of EU pre-accession programmes on the development of national-level structures for the coordination of EU funds in Croatia. The main finding was that pre-accession assistance played a decisive role in the establishment and early support of national coordination structures. However, holistic reform in the state sector was not achieved and the new institutions were often challenged by domestic opposition structures. The research provides useful insights for the literature on Europeanization in accession countries, and for EU pre-accession policy.

Economic, Social and Territorial Situation of Croatia: note / by Marek Kołodziejski, Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies, January 2013, 32 p.

This note provides an overview of Croatia, its political, economic and administrative system, together with a description of European Union support to Croatia, and the planned cohesion policy budget for the period 2007-2013. Special attention is given to the pre-accession support of the European Union for Croatia.

Absorption Capacity of European Union Pre-accession Programs in Croatia / by Vladimira Ivandić, Vinko Kandžija and Jelena  Kandžija. In: Economic Analysis, Vol. 46, no. 1-2, April 2013, pp. 53-71.

This article is analysing the absorption capacity of EU pre-accession programs in Croatia with particular focus on the municipalities. The absorption capacity of EU pre-accession assistance is seen from two theoretical standpoints: the first originates from development economics, while the second developed from the theory of multilevel governance (MLG).

Budget perspective in Croatia after accession to the European Union / by Petar Sopek, Privredna banka Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. In: Financial theory and practice, vol. 37, issue 1, 2013, pp. 31-71

The aim of this paper is to estimate the possible effects of Croatian membership in the EU on changes in the structure and size of budget revenues and expenditures upon the country’s accession to the EU in the second half of 2013, as well as to indicate the possibilities for utilization of EU funds in the new financial perspective up to 2020.

Croatia’s successful road to EU accession / DG Regional Policy, Panorama Inforegio, Summer 2013, pp. 4-9

EU Strategy for the Danube Region: National factsheet – Croatia / DG Regional Policy, 2013, 3 p.

Has EU assistance improved Croatia’s capacity to manage post-accession funding? / European Court of Auditors, Special report no 14/2011. 54 p.

The Court concludes that EU pre-accession assistance has significantly contributed to Croatia’s progress in building up its capacity to manage increased EU funding after becoming a Member State. The assistance was soundly planned, taking into account lessons learned from previous enlargements. However, the objectives of the assistance have not yet been fully achieved and more capacity building work remains to be done.


European Structural and Investment Funds in Croatia / DG Regional Policy

This webpage provides information (figures) on the financial allocations from ESI funds to Croatia, the national cofinancing and thematic breakdown of the allocated budget for 2014-2020 period and achievements of 2007-2013 investments in Croatia.

EU Regional Social Progress Index / DG Regional Policy, 2016

This index aims to measure social progress for each region as a complement to traditional measures of economic progress (choose Jadranska Hrvatska region or Kontinentalna Hrvatska in the drop-down menu to access the factsheet for these regions). As the index is intended to complement measures based on GDP, income or employment, it purposely leaves such indicators out of the index. It follows the overall framework of the global Social Progress Index and is based on fifty indicators, primarily from Eurostat. Measuring social progress can inform the development strategies of EU regions.

Cohesion Policy implementation in the EU28 / EPRS At a Glance by Sorina Ionescu and Christian Dietrich, September 2015, 2 p.

This document shows the ESIF allocations for 2014-2020, the thematic breakdown of Cohesion policy allocations by Member States and the absorption of Structural and Cohesion Funds for 2007-2013.

Country profile – Key indicators – Croatia / DG Regional Policy, May 2015, 15 p.

This document shows key indicators at the national level, grouped by the three types of growth, and the regional level. In addition, it shows the distribution of population by type of region and a few indicators by degree of urbanisation, which highlight the differences between cities and rural areas.

A statistical portrait of Croatia in the European Union / Croatian Bureau of Statistics,1 July 2013, 196 p.

A statistical portrait of Croatia in the European Union analyses statistical data for Croatia, all members of the European Union, EFTA countries and candidate countries to the European Union. It aims to show the statistical data at the time of Croatia’s accession to the European Union.

Croatia within the EU in figures / Eurostat, press release, 25 June 2013, 2 p.

Eurostat has published a selection of economic and social indicators drawing a portrait of the new Member State. For comparison purposes, data are also provided for the existing EU27 and the enlarged EU of 28 Members.

EU programmes and projects

European Structural and Investment Funds – ESIF 2014-2020

National programmes

Croatia, through 4 national programmes, benefits from ESIF funding of EUR 10.7 billion representing an average of 2 529 euro per person over the period 2014-2020.(Partnership Agreement – Croatia: summary and full text )

Competitiveness and Cohesion Programme 2014-2020 ( summary and full text )

ESF Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources 2014-2020 ( summary and full text of the programme)

This programme aims to contribute to creating jobs and strengthening social cohesion in Croatia. Its total volume is EUR 1.849 billion of which EUR 1.582 billion from the EU budget including EUR 66 million from the Youth Employment Initiative.

Rural Development Programme for Croatia 2014-2020 ( factsheet and full text of the programme)

Under Rural Development Programme € 2.3 billion of public money is available for the period 2014-2020 (€ 2 billion from the EU budget and € 0.3 billion of national funding).

EMFF European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme 2014-2020 ( summary , factsheet and full text )

The main objectives of the Programme are related to enhancing the competiveness of the fisheries and aquaculture sector as well as of the sustainability of sea fisheries and the protection of natural resources.

Total Operational Programme budget is EUR 348,759,346.00 of which EMFF contribution is EUR 252,643,138.00 and total national contribution amounts EUR 96,116,208.00.

Cross-border Cooperation Programmes

Interreg V-A – Hungary-Croatia

Interreg V-A – Italy-Croatia

Interreg V-A – Slovenia-Croatia

IPA CBC Croatia – Serbia

Trans-national cooperation Programmes

Danube Programme

Adriatic Ionian Programme

Mediterranean Programme

Central Europe Programme

Operational programmes 2007-2013

Financijski pregled IPA i strukturnih fondova 2007.-2013

The Environment Operational Programme

The Transport Operational Programme

The Regional Competitiveness Operational Programme

Slovenia-Croatia Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

Hungary-Croatia Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

Adriatic IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-13

Hungary-Croatia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

Slovenia-Croatia IPA Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013

Operational Programme ‘South East Europe (SEE)’

Projects examples

Competitive Croatia: 40 funded projects : brochure / the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, 82 p.

Improving inland navigation along the EU’s longest river

De-mining on the Croatian-Hungarian border

CHEE – Cross-border Energy efficiency capacity building

Visitor centre dedicated to the inventor of the parachute is expected to boost tourism on small Dalmatian island

Refurbished fort will help to bring more visitors to ancient coastal city

Former Parenzana railway line revitalised for recreation and sport

Croatian rail moves up a gear

Strengthening rail links between Croatia and the rest of Europe

Rail improvement project at the Croatian-Serbian border rebuilds war-damaged infrastructure

Faster rail services in South East Europe with transport axis project

Useful websites

Cohesion policy in Croatia – webpage of DG Regional and Urban Policy

Competitive Croatia – website of the Regional Operational Programme

ESI funds  in Croatia – National website

Strategic documents Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 – available in Croatian language only

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