Presiding over the EU will cost Croatia more than HRK 241 million




Kongresni centar tijekom predsjedanja bit će u Nacionalnoj i sveučilišnoj knjižnici

In the first half of 2020 Croatia will preside over the EU for six months. Preparations for this significant foreign policy event, which the Government declared a priority and strategically important, ordering all State administration bodies to cooperate on preparations and implementation, will start next year.

Until now, we only had guesses and assumptions about cost of Croatia's preparation for and presiding over the EU. State secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Andreja Metelko-Zgombić recently said that the cost is estimated at EUR 70 million. As part of the discussion on proposed 2019 State budget and projections for 2020 and 2021 last week, the Government released a document dubbed Explanation of Proposed Financial Plans for State Budget in 2019 and Projections for 2020 and 2021. Therein it revealed the first official estimation of cost of Croatia's presiding over the EU for each ministry, State body and agency. Some HRK 97.3 million will be spent on preparations for presiding over the EU next year, while cost in 2020 should stand at 143.7 million, bringing the total to 241 million. Since Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is responsible for organizing this, it will spend most of this (HRK 172.4 million) in the next two years. It is interesting to note that the Ministry allocated funds for diplomatic-protocolary activities of our diplomacy in the world and activities connected with presiding over the EU. It allocated HRK 27.3 million for protocolary activities in 2019 and 39.3 million in 2020.

Other expenditures

Of course, the HRK 241 million does not include all costs of Croatia's presiding over the EU. For instance, the Ministry of Interior did not allocate funds for presiding over the EU in 2019 and 2020 even though police will have to perform a lot of work and pay high cost for securing meetings and attendees in Croatia. The intelligence apparatus will also have significant expenditures, which are not listed. City of Zagreb's costs are not listed either, and there are sure to be some. The released document does not reveal whether listed costs of the Finance Ministry include moving the land registry offices and fixing up an area in the National and University Library (NSK) in Zagreb to serve as a congress center during the presiding over the EU.


Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure will have high costs related to presiding over the EU, as will the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice. Transport Ministry will spend some HRK 31.5 million on presiding over the EU in 2019 and 2020, followed by Ministry of Environmental Protection with 23.9 million and Justice Ministry with 13.3 million.

What will all that money be spent on? According to the explanation in the Government's document, most of it will be spent on employing a large number of workers at the national office in Brussels, for organizing meetings in the EU capital and Croatia, education, procurement of new IT equipment… According to announcements, Croatia is planning to increase the number of employees at its mission to the EU from the current 85 to 220 or 250. Furthermore, during the presiding, many ministries will preside over working groups and send their employees to Brussels for 7 to 12 months. They will have to pay accommodation, wages, healthcare and other costs for those employees. Some ministries announced paying costs of moving family members of these employees to Brussels. Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send 40 employees to Brussels in two years, followed by Ministry of Transport with 15, Ministry of Environmental Protection with 6, and Ministry of Labor and Pension System with 4. Those are not the final numbers. The Ministry announced temporary employment for the purposes of presiding over the EU. Thus far it announced employing 70 additional workers. Ministry of Environmental Protection announced employing 49 additional workers.

Presiding over the EU was not cheap for any EU member states. Ireland spent as much as EUR 110 million in 2004, Malta spent about 40 million and Bulgaria spent approximately 75 million. The most expensive presiding over the EU was France's, which cost as much as EUR 171 million.

Most of the money will be spent on employment in Brussels, where Croatia is planning to increase the number of employees from the current 85 to 220 or 250, while ministries will send more than 150 employees to Brussels

The congress center will be located at the NSK for the duration of Croatia's presiding over the EU.