The Croatian government will apply to the European Commission for financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund in repairing damage caused by an earthquake that struck Zagreb and its environs on March 22. The damage is estimated at €11.5 billion, while the maximum amount that can be obtained from the fund is €600 million.
During its meeting on Wednesday, the government adopted a conclusion on the application for financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund, which has been aligned with the methodology used by the UN, EU, and World Bank, which is essential for submitting a request for assistance from the fund.
Based on this methodology, the direct damage caused by the quake to 25,000 buildings in Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County is estimated at HRK 86 billion or €11.5 billion, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said.
The maximum amount of aid from the fund is €600 million and Croatia expects the first installment of €100 million this summer and the rest by the end of the year.
The aid funds can be used for 18 months after being approved.
To illustrate the extent of the damage, Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavić said that the EU’s seven-year financial envelope for Croatia amounts to €10.7 billion.
According to Pavić, such aid can primarily be used for the reconstruction of hospitals and schools, infrastructure and energy supply installations, drinking water, and telecommunications facilities.
Prime Minister Plenković added that the total amount of direct damage caused by the earthquake was equal to 60% of the state budget and that 22 Pelješac bridges with access roads could be built with that amount.
He announced that the government would seek other sources to finance the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs, adding that donor conferences were not an option in the EU because they were organised for third countries.
Of the aid from the fund, HRK 54 million (€7.2 million) would go towards covering the costs of accommodation rental for citizens who cannot return to their own homes, strengthening the infrastructure of cultural heritage, and the costs of cleaning operations, Minister Pavić added./ibna