Zagreb, 29th January 2014 – Croatian Ministry of Agriculture and Hrvatske vode have organized on the 24th of January of 2014 a workshop at which the Guide for the preparation of water utility projects was presented. During the reviews of so far prepared study-project documentation for water utility projects, which intend to apply for EU grants, certain opportunities were identified for improving the quality of the prepared documentation. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture and Hrvatske vode have requested the support of consultants from JASPERS in the preparation of this Guide.
Expressing the satisfaction with the very good attendance of the workshop, General Manager of Hrvatske vode, Mr Ivica Plišić, said that Hrvatske vode are intensively working on projects for European funding which will steadily increase both in consulting and in the implementation of the projects and the construction of facilities. Speaking of major projects underway, he noted that the project of Slavonski Brod is at the end of implementation and its trial operation of the local wastewater treatment plant. Works began in Sisak, and ongoing activities are being implemented in Drniš and Knin. Also, tenders for the selection of contractors for projects in Osijek and Poreč have started, and projects Vukovar, Čakovec, Županja and others are about to start with the tendering phase.
In the next programming period of 2014 - 2020, Croatia can count on significantly greater resources from the EU funds than before. It is estimated that the water-utility sector could get about 1.3 billion Euro, but it is not enough to implement the Croatian obligations under two EU directives related to water as it would need to invest about 4.3 billion Euro, so the projects which will be most helpful in achieving the goals shall be selected, said Karmen Cerar from the Directorate for Water Management of the Ministry of Agriculture. To start using this money, the European Commission should adopt primarily Croatian partnership agreement with EC and the operational program. It is expected that the operational program could be submitted in mid-July of 2014 to the EC. She has also informed the participants of the workshop about the initiated reforms in the water management sector.
Robert Kartelo, the Head of Sector for projects co-financed by the EU at Hrvatske vode, has explained that JASPERS is an initiative of the EU and the European Investment Bank in order to help member countries in better preparation of projects to make them more easily accepted by the European Commission. Specifically, each submitted project must undergo the evaluation and selection process of relevant EU bodies to determine the extent to which it meets the required criteria. He pointed out that Hrvatske vode have, in the last three years, invested a lot of resources to prepare as many quality projects that will meet the criteria of the European Commission, and he also announced that organization of similar workshops will continue in the future.
Then the consultants from JASPERS, Mr David Tagg and Mr Martin Schriever, brought out their experiences and observations raised in relation to the control and inspections of project documentation. Many gathered representatives from Hrvatke vode, utility companies and beneficiaries of EU projects, project team leaders for EU projects and consultants who assist in the preparation and implementation of these projects were presented by the various features and recommendations to enhance and accelerate the preparation of projects so that Croatia could be able to absorb as much available money from the EU funds.