Operational Programme in the field of competitiveness and cohesion is one of the two operational programmes for the use of EU funds prepared for the Republic of Croatia for the period 2014 – 2020. The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds is responsible for indicative allocation which amounts to 6.9 billion Euros. The draft of the Programme has been submitted to the European Commission, and is now waiting for adoption, which will be completed in Q4 of this year.
The largest part of the investment (more than 3.3 billion EUR) is reserved for protecting the environment, adjustment to climate changes and renovation and construction of the transport infrastructure.
Approximately 3.3 billion EUR will be allocated to the five priorities related to competitiveness, namely research and innovation, ICT, development of small and medium enterprises, low-carbon economy and education. Only for the growth and strengthening the competitiveness of SMEs, almost one billion EUR has been reserved. The program consists of eight priority axes which are divided into 26 investment priorities and 41 specific objectives.
The first priority axis is intended to STRENGHTEN THE ECONOMY BY APPLYING KNOWLEDGE, RESERCH AND INNOVATION. Within this priority axis, investment priorities and objectives will be oriented to:
- improving infrastructure and capacity for research and innovation in order to develop the performance of the economy;
- promotion of business investments in innovation and research and the development links and synergies among the businesses, between R&D centers and higher education, and particularly the development of products and services by using the Key Enabling Technologies that encourage development and innovation in order to disseminate the technologies for general use.
The objectives of the second priority axis are the IMPROVEMENT OF THE AVAILABILITY AND USE OF ICT by focusing on:
- expanding the availability of broadband connections and the development of fast networks;
- supporting the implementation of new technologies and the digital economy;
- strengthening the ICT applications for e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, e-culture and e-health;
The investment priorities of the third axis aimed at SUPPORT OF THE BUSINESS COMPETITIVENESS are focused on:
- promotion of entrepreneurship, in particular by facilitating the economic exploitation of new ideas and encouraging the creation of new companies through business incubators;
- supporting the capacity of SMEs to grow at regional, national and international markets, and their participation in the innovation processes.
The promotion of ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE SOURCES is the fourth priority axis. The investment priorities of this axis will be focused on:
- the promotion of energy efficiency and the use renewable energy sources in the enterprises;
- supporting the energy efficiency, smart energy management and renewable energy use in the public infrastructure, including public buildings and the residential sector;
- the development and implementation of smart distribution systems that operate at low and medium voltage levels.
The investment priorities of the fifth axis, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, ADJUSTMENT TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABILITY RESOURCES, are concentrated on:
- financial support for adaptation to climate changes, including the approaches based on the ecosystem;
- promotion of investments related to specific risks of ensuring resilience to disasters and the development of disaster management;
- investment in the waste sector to meet the requirements of the acquis communautaire related to the environment and meet the requirements for investment set by the Member States
- investment in the water sector to meet the requirements of the acquis communautaire of the EU related to the environment and meet the requirements for investment set by the Member States
- preservation, protection, promotion and development of the cultural and natural heritage;
- protection and restoration of biodiversity and soil, promotion of eco-services, including those through the NATURA 2000 network and the “green” infrastructure;
- activities to improve the urban environment, urban revitalization, restoration and decontamination of former industrial areas (including the converted areas) in order to reduce air pollution and promote measures to reduce the noise.
The sixth priority axis aims at CONNECTIONS AND MOBILITY by:
- promotion of strategies for reducing the level of CO₂ emissions in all types of territory, particularly in urban areas, including the promotion of sustainable and multimodal urban mobility and the adaptive measures to mitigate changes;
- improving regional mobility by connecting secondary and tertiary nodes to TEN-T infrastructure, including multi-modal interchanges;
- financial support to multimodal single European transport area by investing in the TEN-T;
- developing and improving of environmentally friendly transport systems and transport systems with low CO₂ emissions, including inland waterways and maritime transport, ports, multimodal connections and airport infrastructure, in order to promote sustainable regional and local mobility;
- developing and renewing the comprehensive and interoperable railway system of high quality and by promoting the measures for noise reduction;
- developing and improving environmentally friendly transport systems of low noise and low CO₂ emissions, including internal waterways and maritime transport, ports, multimodal connections and airport infrastructure, with the aim of promoting the sustainable local and regional mobility;
- developing and renewing comprehensive and high quality interoperable railway systems and the promotion of measures to reduce noise.
THE AVAILABILITY OF PUBLIC SERVICES is the seventh priority axis that will attract investments through its objectives of:
- investing in national health and social infrastructure in order to contribute to national, regional and local development, with a special focus on reducing inequalities in health status and the transition from institutional care to community-based care;
- providing support for the physical, economic and social reconstruction of affected communities in urban and rural areas;
- investing in education, skills and life-long learning by developing the infrastructure for education and training;
- improving the institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders,
- improving the public administration efficiency by implementing measures to strengthen the services associated with the use of ERDF and ESF
THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE is the last in the series of axes and it will provide:
- coordination and efficient utilization of funds of Structural Instruments in Croatia
- support in the form of efficiently informing potential users and the public on the implementation of structural instruments.
The first tenders will start at the end of Q1 2015. On the operational requirements we will promptly inform on our website.