Failure to Pass Waste Management Plan Could Be Detrimental to 2017 Budget Projections

mid_56d9a088a1df819 December 2016, VG Intelligence Weekly Issue 35

This past week, the Croatian Parliament (i.e. Sabor) adopted the Government’s proposed 2017 state budget. The overall 2017 budget revenue is projected to amount to approximately €16.1 billion with a growth estimate of 3.2% GDP per capita. The final projections in the adopted budget were higher by approximately €265 million in both planned revenues and expenditures, compared to what was forecast in the Government’s budgetary projections a few weeks back. Explaining the increase, the Government said that the early numbers underestimated the amount that could be absorbed through EU funds. A slight caveat in this increased projection is the preparedness of the state administration to do the legwork needed to unlock funds for designated projects. Namely, in order for the majority of funds to be accessed, there are conditions that some Government departments have, in the past, failed to access, due to their inability to produce sufficient operational proposals (i.e. qualified projects). Specifically, this has been the case with the waste management sector. The past two administrations failed to pass a comprehensive waste management strategy that would be in line with EU legislation. By not having a waste management strategy, Croatia has, so far, failed to access €475 million in EU funding allocated for environmental projects. The last Waste Management Plan (WMP) to be drafted was presented in June of this year by Environmental Protection and Energy Minister Slaven Dobrovic (MOST), who now also manages the state’s energy portfolio. One of the crucial measures of the June WMP included constructing more sorting and composting sites. The idea was to meet the EU’s objectives of ensuring that 50% of paper, glass, plastic, and metals are collected separately by 2020. The June WMP also envisaged that the capacity of existing waste management centres is reduced by 75%, and that waste sorting facilities are given the go ahead…

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