Croatia

   

Environmental Policies

#18
Key Findings
With a number of new programs in the early phases of implementation, Croatia falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 18) with regard to environmental policies. Its score in this area has improved by 0.2 points relative to 2014.

The country’s environmental policy has been strongly shaped by EU accession. Waste management, water management and air quality are the most important issues. However, program implementation has been slow, with an incoherent public procurement law hampering the use of EU funds.

The country has met climate-protection targets, procuring nearly 30% of energy from renewable sources. However, the share is much lower in the transport sector. Development of a low-carbon strategy for 2030 has been slow.

Air pollution has improved, but waste management remains uncoordinated, without sufficient incentives or enforcement. Biodiversity protection is improving, but the legal framework in this area remains weak.

Environment

#26

How effectively does environmental policy in your country protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and environmental quality?

10
 9

Environmental policy goals are ambitious and effectively implemented as well as monitored within and across most relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy goals are mainly ambitious and effectively implemented and are monitored within and across some of the relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy goals are neither particularly ambitious nor are they effectively implemented and coordinated across relevant policy sectors.
 2
 1

Environmental concerns have been largely abandoned.
Environmental Policy
5
Environmental policy in Croatia has been strongly shaped by Croatia’s accession to the European Union. The regulatory framework was extended in 2018 with the amendments to the Environmental Protection Act. However, while improving the environment reporting system, the amendments failed to expedite the passing of the rules and regulations required for the enforcement of laws.
According to the National Strategic Reference Framework, which guides the use of European Structural and Cohesion Fund money, Croatia is required to spend almost €10 billion on waste management, water management and air protection – the three most important environmental issues in the EU accession negotiations – by 2023. However, implementation of the envisaged measures has progressed slowly, largely due to the incoherent Public Procurement Law. The uncertainty caused by the law’s interpretation has been a significant drag on ESIF absorption in Croatia. In 2019, Croatia was almost bottom of the EU-wide list in terms of the percentage of funds spent.

Primarily as a result of its EU membership obligations, Croatia has made some improvements in water and waste management, and has passed several action plans. However, there is still much to be done in terms of actual enforcement and implementation. In water management, substantial investment in the public water supply and drainage system, and wastewater treatment system is needed, because there is still a high percentage of water loss (48%). The progress with waste management is also slow: of 12 regional waste management centers planned, only two have been completed – both in western parts of the country. Another problem is the fact that these planned waste management centers are to be focused primarily on mixed municipal waste, which is to be treated mechanically and biologically and turned into the fuel for incinerators in the regional centers. The system of waste management clearly lacks coordination between different administrative levels, it does not provide appropriate incentives for ordinary citizens and businesses to avoid, collect and separate waste, and there is a lack of enforcement capacity.

Environmental pollution has declined. However, air pollution remains a significant problem, especially in the capital, Zagreb. Additional efforts are needed to fulfill the emission reduction commitments laid down in the new National Emissions Ceilings Directive for 2020 – 2029 and beyond.

Croatia has succeeded in implementing the targets for climate protection set by the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Climate Agreement. By procuring almost 30% of energy consumed from renewable sources, it stands both above the level stipulated in the Lisbon Strategy, as well as above the EU average share of renewables used. However, the share of renewables used in the transportation system is rather low. Progress in formulating the country’s low-carbon 2030 development strategy has been slow. Some initial steps have been taken to define national objectives, policies and measures; however, these have not been finalized or adopted.

Since 2017, Croatia has made some progress in protecting biodiversity. The Natura 2000 network in Croatia, which is the second largest in the European Union relative to country size, is now largely complete. However, the conservation of Natura 2000 sites continues to suffer from a weak legal framework and a lack of resources. Moreover, further designations need to be made in the marine network.

Citations:
Tišma, S., Funduk, M. (2018): Zaštita okoliša/Environmental Protection, in: V. Samardžija (eds.), Izazovi provedbe europskih politika u Hrvatskoj/The Challenges of European Policies Implementation in Croatia. Zagreb: IRMO, 179-218.
European Commission (2019): The EU Environmental Implementation Review Country Report Croatia. SWD (2019) 114 final, Brussels.

Global Environmental Protection

#15

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, contributes to their being advanced and has introduced appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally contributes to their being advanced and/or has introduced some appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but does not contribute to their being advanced and has not introduced appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
6
Croatia ratified the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017 and strongly adheres to international environmental standards. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in line with the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement. However, it has not launched any initiatives for global environmental protection, and the development of its low-carbon 2030 development strategy has progressed slowly.
Back to Top