The Head of the European Commission Delegation to Croatia, Vincent Degert, said on Tuesday that one could say with certainty that Croatia was ready to face, with its own resources, the challenges of programming funds from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and that the country had to convince the European Union of that.
The Head of the Delegation made the statement at the closing conference of a project designed to strengthen institutional capacities and project preparation services, which had been implemented for 13 months at the Central State office for Development Strategy and Coordination of EU Funds as part of the PHARE 2005 programme.
The purpose of the project, which started in January 2008, was to strengthen institutional potentials for the planning, implementation and supervision of EU aid, thus enabling a better and more efficient use of IPA funds and facilitating adjustment to EU rules, structures and procedures.
Representatives of the institutions which participated in the project and the national IPA coordinator, State Secretary Hrvoje Dolenec, also spoke about the project.
Marija Tufekcic, CFCA Director, explained the Agency's role as the Contracting Authority in the project implementation, and reminded on EUR 218 million so far contracted from the preaccession funds available to Croatia. She also added that Croatia faces contracting of the IPA programme for which EUR 592 million is allocated.
The project has resulted in the publication of the handbook "European Funds for Croatian Projects", which is about available EU financial instruments and funding possibilities in Croatia. The project has also defined models of assistance to IPA operative structures, relevant ministries and government agencies in all stages of project cycle management. The project also included the training of more than 1,000 people of whom 37 have gained competence enabling them to pass on, as trainers, what they have learned in the course of the project.
The contract is signed with Austrian company Metis GmbH in consortium with German company GTZ Gmbh in the amount of EUR 1,306.025.