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LJUBLJANA (Slovenia), July 17 (SeeNews) - EU funds inflow into countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) will intensify in 2019-20 and peak in 2021-22, as during the first two years of the current 2014-2020 period the countries have been busy drawing funds related to the previous programming period, Erste Group said in Monday.
"As experience from the previous budgeting period shows, EU fund drawing is likely to peak only after 2020, when CEE countries will be facing tight deadlines to not compromise the utilization of EU funds," Erste Group Research said in a report including EU member countries in the CEE region - Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.
CEE countries have spent less than 5% of the EU funds budget they have for 2014-20 and received approval for projects worth less than 20% of the overall budget.
Slovenia has so far been one of the top performers in the EU with respect to EU funding and the Slovenian investment story is mostly determined by the allocation of EU funds. The recent data shows that more than 25% of Slovenia's 4.9 billion euro ($5.61 billion) budget is already decided.
The Croatian EU funds budget for 2014-20 stands at 12.7 billion levs.
"When looking at the implementation progress, we can say that Croatia has not been successful so far, as only 12% of the budget is decided and only 1% spent (143 million euro)," Erste added.
In Romania, out of total funds of 36.4 billion euro, only 4.2 billion euro, or 11.4% has been allocated to selected projects so far and only 166 million euro or 0.5% was spent under the selected projects.
"Romania made a hesitant start in attracting EU funds under the 2014-20 European financial framework, but authorities have lately started to streamline the procedures, which might speed up the absorption process in the next few quarters," Erste said in the statement.
The report did not include data for EU member Bulgaria, or for Serbia and Montenegro which are holding accession talks.
($ = 0.8722 euro)