ZAGREB, 5 March (Hina) – In a 7-year period this decade, the total population on islands in Croatia grew by around 5,000 people, the Croatian parliament heard this week.
In 2018, the population of 51 island local units went up by 4,903 from 2011 and in that period 36 island towns and municipalities recorded positive trends, said Spomenka Đurić, state secretary at the Regional Development Ministry.
Over 132,000 people live on islands in Croatia with the island of Krk the most populated with around 20,000 inhabitants.
Đurić said investments in the islands increased every year because the state recognised them as areas of special interest and big potential.
The absorption of EU funds through strategic projects significantly contribute to investments, from HRK 530 million in 2017 to HRK 1.4 billion in 2019, Đurić added.
Speaking of key strategic projects, she mentioned Pelješac Bridge, island ports and water supply.
Croatia has 1,244 islands, islets and rocks, of which 78 are islands, 524 islets and 642 cliffs.
Đurić said 45 islands in Croatia are permanently or temporarily inhabited, with 51 maritime routes, 58 community health centres, 102 primary and 13 high schools, and 23 care homes on all the islands.
HRK 24bn invested in islands in past 14 yrs
In the past 14 years almost HRK 24 billion has been invested in Croatia’s islands, an average of HRK 1.7 billion a year, a government representative said in parliament on Wednesday, reporting on the implementation of the Islands Act in 2018 and 2019.
MP Anka Mrak Taritaš of the opposition GLAS said a debate on the report was an opportunity to talk about how to keep people on the islands and how much was invested in renewables, environmental protection and waste management.
Croatia systematically caring for islands
MPs of the ruling HDZ said Croatia was systematically caring for its islands, including through investments, absorbing EU funds, renewing the fleet and dealing with waste management.
Mirela Ahmetović of the opposition Social Democratic Party said the increase in investment in the islands was not only a result of the law but also thanks to efficient local government.
She criticised Croatian Post for investing only HRK 430,000 in islands, despite record profits, for the procurement of air conditioning units.
Sandra Benčić of the opposition green-left bloc underlined the importance of investing in quality education.