5th EUSAIR National Financial Dialogue in Croatia
On March 3rd, Ministry of Tourism and Sport of the Republic of Croatia, as a coordinator of EUSAIR Pillar 4 Sustainable tourism and a project partner of EUSAIR Facility Point project, in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and Funds of the European Union and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, as EUSAIR national coordinators, has organized the 5th EUSAIR National Financial Dialogue in Zagreb.
Event was attended by the representatives of the governing bodies of the national operational programs of the European Structural and Investment Funds, by the national members of EUSAIR thematic groups: Blue Growth, Connecting Regions, Environmental Quality and Sustainable Tourism and by the representatives of national bodies of the European transnational territorial cooperation programmes. Republic of Croatia participates in a total of 13 programmes of European territorial cooperation.
Focus of the dialogue was on two key questions: first, how far and in what way the projects implemented in 2014-2020 financial perspective as well as the projects planned to be applied in the existing one 2021-2027 perspective, contribute to the achievement of the goals of the EUSAIR macro-regional strategy, and second, how sources of funding can be expanded beyond the INTERREG ADRION, i.e. IPA ADRION programme of territorial cooperation, which mainly covers and co-finances territorially and programmatically the largest number of EUSAIR macro-regional projects, and thus the most significant contribution to the achievement of the Strategy's goals.
Macroregional strategies are an innovative EU policy framework, which enables countries from the same region to find solutions to common challenges and/or to better utilize their potential by encouraging policy alignment, synergy and coordinating funding sources. EUSAIR management support should be developed in line with the lessons learned in the 2014-2020 period. and the new level of maturity it has reached - in order to achieve a tangible effect and achieve the set goals within the next perspective - pointed out Mislav Kovač, moderator of the event from the Directorate for European Territorial Cooperation Ministry of Regional Development and Funds of the European Union.
The participants were informed in more detail about the results achieved for each of the 2014-2020 operational programmes as well as about a state of play of the EUSAIR thematic pillars in preparations for the first 2021-2027 Call for proposals.
In search for sources of funding macro-regional themes of sustainable tourism in the new programme period, Ministry of Tourism and Sport, as the coordinator of the thematic pillar Sustainable tourism with the support of all EUSAIR member states fully developed seven sustainable tourism macro regional project ideas into strategic projects with project-technical documentation ready for the first Calls for Proposals. Green Mapping, Living the Sea 4.0., Cruise AIR, Des AIR, Culture AIR, AIR Cultural Routes and ProDestAIR projects might come to life soon in the whole Adriatic-Ionian macroregion with the support of grants and transnational territorial cooperation programs.
Based on The European territorial cooperation programmes IPA ADRION 2021-2027, three strategic projects will be funded in order to support the management of the Strategy - the EUSAIR Facility Point project will continue in the 2021-2027 programme period and two new strategic projects: Stakeholders Engagement Point coordinated by Italy and the EUSAIR Strategic Implementation project - support for the development and implementation of strategic implementation formats coordinated by Croatia.
This year's national financial dialogue was held in an extremely intensive and important period for the implementation of the EU strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian region: the revision of its Action Plan is ongoing and will significantly mark the next years of implementation, in a few months Croatia will take over the one-year EUSAIR presidency from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the national operational plans of the new multi-year financial framework 2021-2027 were adopted by the European Commission. and the first call for grants will be published soon, while at the same time the n+3 period for the previous financial period 2014-2020 is ending and the projects approved for financing are in a race against time because they must be completed by 31.12.2023 at the latest.
European Commission confirmed earlier in its comments on national operational programme proposals that Croatia has incorporated well the priorities of the macro-regional strategies into them.
It is well known that macroregional strategies do not have their separate allocation but use the existing funding resources instead. So financial dialogue has proven to be a useful format for sharing information, coordinate activities and, if possible, synchronize the calls for proposals in order to not miss the opportunities.