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GP: National Strategy for the ISPA Programme - Transport Sector - Croatia PDF Print E-mail

Zagreb, December, 2004; Ministry of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development


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Introduction - Republic of Croatia and its Candidature for the European Union

The Republic of Croatia is an unitary State, independent since 1991 and internationally recognised, particularly by the European Union member countries since January 15, 1992. As to its territory, the Republic of Croatia extends by its northern areas, mostly lowland, along the southern edge of the Panonian plain, and by its southern, mountainous and littoral areas, along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. This unusual territorial shaping is the result of historic developments and foreign occupations and it bears a significant influence on the transport-related integrity of the Republic of Croatia and its links with neighbouring countries. Croatia has expressed without any ambiguity its European belonging and this as of the very beginnings of its statehood and despite aggression and occupation of a significant portion of its territory in the period from 1991 to 1996. Ever since Croatia gained independence, the European and Euro-Atlantic integrations have been of crucial significance in its national policy. In that respect, the Republic of Croatia has gained membership in the Council of Europe, and has taken an active part in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in the Partnership for Peace of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in various Central-European economic bodies and institutions.

1. CROATIA'S CANDIDATURE FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION

General political conditions and difficulties; which ensued after first pluralistic elections in the Republic of Croatia (1990) - military aggression and war, occupation, defense, liberation of territory, care for refugees and displaced persons from the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina - have significantly slowed down Croatia's democratic transition and its activities aimed at accession to the European Union.
In 1999, the European Commission proposed to Croatia and other South-Eastern European countries the Stabilisation and Accession Process and; in November 2000, it started negotiations with Croatia for conclusion of the Stabilisation and Accession Agreement. In 2001, Croatia started using the EU CARDS programme, which was opened for five South-Eastern European countries, which have not as yet gained the EU candidate status. These countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia & Montenegro. In December of the same year, Croatia signed the Stabilisation and Accession Agreement with the European Union, and the European Commission formulated its strategy for Croatia for the 2000-2006 period and defined forms and amounts of assistance to be allocated through the CARDS programme.

In the period from 1991 to 2000, the European Union allocated to the Republic of Croatia € 367 million of assistance funds, out of which almost two thirds were related to the humanitarian aid, while the next highest item of the assistance was related to the return of refugees. Croatia officially submitted its candidature for the EU membership on February 21, 2003. In the autumn of the same year, the Government of the Republic of Croatia provided answer to some 2500 questions put by the European Commission in relation to issues of interest to and significant for the European Union. These answers were used by the Commission as basis for formulating its "Avis" on the Croatia's candidature in 29 different areas. Based on these answers and its own opinion on the Croatia's compliance with general political and economic, Copenhagen Criteria for accession to the European Union (1993), as well as with special requirements for the South-Eastern European Countries, the Commission formulated at mid-April 2004 its positive opinion about the Croatian candidature and proposed to the Council of the European Union to open negotiations with the Republic of Croatia. In mid June, the European Council accepted this opinion and decided to start negotiations with the Republic of Croatia in early 2005. The Council also ordered the Commission to undertake an additional and more thorough analysis of situation in the Republic of Croatia - the so called Screening - so that the negotiations can be based on an realistic image of the situation in Croatia, and on the actual level achieved by Croatia in adaptation to European policies and its legal achievements, known as Acquis communautaire. In addition to these general decisions, in September 2004 the Council of the European Union announced guidelines for granting financial assistance to Croatia in the 2005-2006 period, as well as guidelines for Croatia's use of three pre-accessions programmes - PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD. Based on these guidelines, it is foreseen that in the 2005-2006 period the European Union will contribute, through the ISPA programme, towards the transport infrastructure development in the Republic of Croatia with the total amount of € 30 million. After 2006, i.e. in the seven-year period of the Union's "Financial Perspectives" (2007-2013), the three pre-accession programmes are to be combined into a single "Pre-accession Instrument".

2. GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR THE TRANSPORT SECTOR
2.1 ISPA - policy and regulations of the European Union

In order to accelerate preparation of candidates-countries for accession to the European Union and, more particularly, to increase their economic and social cohesion, the European Union opened in 2000, in addition to the "general-purpose" PHARE programme, two more specialised pre-accession programmes, i.e. SAPARD and ISPA programmes. The SAPARD is destined to agriculture and to rural development, while the aim of the ISPA programme is to increase the mentioned cohesion thanks to European assistance in the area of construction and renewal of the environmental protection and transport infrastructure. The programme called ISPA - Instrument for Structural Policy for Pre-Accession - was created by the EU Council Regulation No. 1267/99 of June 21, 1999, and is based on the Commission's Agenda 2000 proposal relating to ten European continental candidates-countries for the 2000-06 period.

Therefore, the ISPA pre-accession programme also provides financial assistance for transport infrastructure projects which, in a broader sense, contribute to the realisation of objectives set in the Accession Partnership for countries-candidates and their National Programmes for Adoption of the Acquis Communautaire. In a stricter sense, ISPA assists in the funding of transport infrastructure projects, which promote the concept of sustainable mobility (of traffic) and which represent "projects of common interest", as based on criteria set in the Decision No. 1692/96/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, and which are compliant with the European Union policy relating to the Transport Sector and with the European multimodal transport networks (TEN - Transport). The measures and projects that are co-financed through the ISPA programme are aimed at increasing and improving the interconnection and inter-operability of national networks, and the access to such networks, as well as the connection and operability of national networks with multimodal Pan European corridors, as well as EU networks TEN and TINA1. As a rule, ISPA co-finances major infrastructure projects valued at no less than € 5 million, which are and will remain in public ownership, as well as technical assistance measures. The ISPA's contribution in this financing can be up to 75%, or exceptionally up to 85% of the total amount the project will cost the public community (State, local community, public company or agency, etc.), not including taxes and price of the land The remaining amount and the tax and land costs have to be guaranteed for and financed by the public community, i.e. by the final beneficiary. The percentage of ISPA financing of transport infrastructure projects, which generate income (toll motorways, railways, etc.), is normally less than 75%. The ISPA funding may be combined with loans from "international financial institutions" (IFIs2) and from European banks - European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - as well as with loans granted by commercial banks, but not with funding allocated through other pre-accession programmes. The ISPA assistance and other forms of EU assistance can in no case exceed 90% of the total project price. In the field of transport, ISPA provides partial financing for the following infrastructure projects, i.e. transport modes: roads and motorways, railways, inland waterways and ports, sea ports and airports, as well as combined transport infrastructure projects. The ISPA also finances or co-finances (up to 2 percent of the total amount) technical assistance activities / measures, i.e. preparation and revision of national strategies, feasibility studies, design and tender documents, environmental impact studies, including evaluation work, monitoring, co-ordination and programme and project management activities. Approved projects and measures are implemented through the so called "decentralised implementation system" (DIS) which is used by the European Commission, i.e. its Delegation, to approve not only individual projects and measures but also all significant phases of the procedure, namely the supply, procurement, payment and modifications. The intention of the European Commission is to use technical assistance and monitoring measures to help national implementation authorities and final beneficiaries of the ISPA projects and measures in their efforts towards legal and procedural adjustment to European Union standards and regulations, so that these authorities/final beneficiarys can gradually become capable of implementing by themselves (after approval of relevant projects and measures by the European Commission and their subsequent "accreditation" by the European Commission) all other project implementation phases through the so called "Extended Decentralised Implementation System" (EDIS).

2.2 General determinants relating to national policy and development plan of the Republic of Croatia

In the Republic of Croatia, national development plans are prepared on the four-year basis. The plan currently in realisation covers the period 2001 - 2004. The draft national plan for the next planning period (2005-08) was recently prepared by the Ministry of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development and submitted to the Croatian Government for consideration and adoption. At the moment this study was completed, the plan had not been adopted, but it may reasonably be expected that this will be done by the end of 2004.. Country modernisation is a priority in a current national plan, although rehabilitation of war damages is still under way. In this context, the Plan attaches special importance to traffic infrastructure reconstruction as well as to completion of traffic infrastructure by modern and safe communications whose primary purpose is better integration of Croatian space and connection with neighbouring countries. It should indeed be noted that these infrastructures have significant impact on the internal mobility within the Republic of Croatia and on competitive edge of Croatian companies. It is also highly important for the development of tourism, which is one of the basic, and hence prioritary branch of Croatian economy participating with some 20 percent in the Croatian gross domestic product (GDP). The results of this sector of activity are permanently in progress. Croatia currently has more than 720,000 of tourist beds in all forms of tourist facilities. Thus, 14 percent of tourists reside in hotels, while the rest of them find accommodation in the so called private accommodation facilities and in camp sites. The total number of persons renting their facilities/space in tourist sector is close to 50,000. Most tourists come from Italy, Slovenia and Germany and also from Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland, although the number of tourists from France, Great Britain, Switzerland and Sweden has significantly increased in recent years. All types of transport infrastructure and road and air transport in particular, have become a factor that hinders development of Croatian tourism. In a broader terms, the transport infrastructures are regarded as crucial for every sort of manufacturing activity and for every exchange of products and goods. For that reason, the Croatian Government prepared - based on the national plan - the document entitled Programme for the Construction and Maintenance of Public Roads, 2001-2004. This programme provided a framework for the start of a very ambitious and daring motorway construction programme according to which motorways are planned as a continuation of South - North Pan European corridors.

In addition to this aspect, the programme calls for gradual increase in the funding allocated to the maintenance of the existing road network and road equipment and also to construction of bypasses and new sections. According to this programme, the funding allocated to this form of transport (roads and motorways) amounted to kuna 23.37 billion in the planning period 2001-04, which amounts to more than 3.73 percent of the GDP annually in relation to the year 20003. According to this planning document, it was foreseen that about 36 percent of the total funding is reserved for maintenance, 21 percent for rehabilitation and construction activities, and 43 percent for the construction of new motorways and semi-motorways. It should be stressed that the amount planned in this planning period was greatly exceeded, as the implementation of the motorway construction programme was significantly accelerated - partly thanks to financing obtained through loans and partly to funding from the income of the Hrvatske autoceste d.o.o. Programmes for the other transport infrastructure modes were related to the rehabilitation and modernisation of airports, sea ports and river ports, and also railways, so that the scale of transport infrastructure investment in Croatia was considerably higher when compared to majority of other European countries and to the above cited TINA assumptions.

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Pan European Corridor X - Repairs of railways. Section: Vinkovci-Jankovci-Tovarnik (35.8km)

 

ISPA_SEE_Core_road_and_rail_and_port_networks-ISPA

ISPA__AP2_priority_projects2005-2006

ISPA__AP3_priority_projects2005-2006

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