Croatia and Norway sign Programme agreement for justice and home affairs worth 15.3 million euros

Croatia and Norway sign Programme agreement for justice and home affairs worth 15.3 million euros

Croatian Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Zalac and Norwegian Ambassador Astrid Versto signed on Tuesday a programme agreement on the EUR 15.3 million programme “Justice and Home Affairs”.

The programme is financed under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 period and is aimed at strengthening the rule of law and improving the efficiency of the judicial system. Norway will give a EUR 13 million grant for it, while Croatia will provide the rest.

The money is intended for the renovation of the Split Municipal Court, the promotion of e-services in the judicial system, strengthening the probation system, improving the evaluation of judges and mediation, and the temporary transfer of judges to the European Court of Human Rights.

Zalac said that the Municipal Court in Split has been operating for many years in inadequate conditions outside the city. She added that the Norwegian donation will enable the renovation of the “Stande” building in the very centre of the city, thus enabling citizens to have easy access to the court and generally improve the quality of justice in line with European standards.

Versto said the programme would bring the judicial system closer to citizens as well as bring Norway and Croatia closer. She added that the two countries had a history of successful cooperation in the judicial sector, including the renovation of the Karlovac Municipal Court thanks to a Norwegian grant and work on improving judges’ performance.

The “Justice and Home Affairs” programme agreement is the first signed within the Norwegian and European Economic Area Financial Mechanisms for the 2014-21 period in Croatia. Within the grants Croatia will receive EUR 103.4 million, 46.6 million from Norway and 56.8 million from the EEA for funding of the following programme areas: local development and poverty reduction; innovation, research, education and competitiveness; energy and climate change; justice and home affairs; civil society and social dialogue.

The mechanisms are aimed at reducing social and economic inequality in the EU and strengthening the bilateral relations of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway with beneficiary countries. More information on the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the EEA Financial Mechanism in Croatia, as well as the programs and projects available for funding can be found at www.eeagrants.hr.