Croatia Split into 2 Regions – Continental and Adriatic
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and European Union (EU) Funds, Branko Grcic (SDP) presented the plan to split Croatia into two administrative regions – Adriatic and Continental. The administrative regions fall under the EU BDP average per resident, specifically under 75% EU average, allowing the regions to qualify for the most advantageous EU Structural and Cohesion Funds. Led by the regional political party, the HDSSB (see more under Parliamentarian on the Move section below), the eastern Croatia region of Slavonia has expressed its dissatisfaction with the decision to unify the underdeveloped region of Slavonia with the well-developed regions of the City of Zagreb and Northwest Croatia; the Slavonian region’s BDP average is now increased from 34% average to 65% percept, decreasing its competitive advantage for qualifying for the EU funding. Between 2013 and 2020, Croatia will be able to draw on €13.7 billion EU funding for well prepared projects. The Government made this decision without a public debate and consultation with local regional authorities, which is generally an accepted practice in the EU and EU member states. The two statistical regions will take into effect as of 1 January 2013. Economic experts have also criticized the Government move, arguing that it is illogical and irregular to include well developed regions, such as Zagreb, with underdeveloped regions like Slavonia, which has especially been underdeveloped due to direct repercussions from the Homeland War.