Croatian and Hungarian partners together have drawn 47 million euros from the IPA cross-border programme Croatia-Hungary, a conference marking European Cooperation Day said in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar on Friday.
The conference was attended by some 200 Croatian and Hungarian experts working on EU territorial cooperation projects. The head of the Croatian delegation and Assistant Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Helga Bubanovic-Devcic, said 240 Croatian and Hungarian partners had absorbed a total of 47 million euros from 2007 to 2013, of which Croatia had absorbed 23 million and Hungary 24 million, for 140 selected projects and 13 reserve projects.She said that the next programme would be much bigger and would provide about 130 million euros for cross-border cooperation projects from 2014 to 2023.
The head of Vukovar-Srijem County, Bozo Galic, said that his county had carried out several cross-border cooperation projects with Serbia and Bosnia, but not with Hungary because they do not share a border. Still, this county has participated in IPA Croatia-Hungary projects as an associate member and, together with Virovitica-Podravina County, has drawn 1.1 million euros. Galic said he believed that because of a large Hungarian ethnic community in Vukovar-Srijem County and the Danube that connects the two countries his county would be more involved in projects in the next budget period.
Hungarian MP Gyorgy Csoti said that the existing political and cultural cooperation between Hungary and Croatia was very good, but that economic cooperation was lacking. He suggested that Croatia take advantage of its EU membership to step up its economic ties with Hungary and the other Visegrad Group countries the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.