Meeting of the POLO-Cro28 research team held: preparations for the book and international conference

Zagreb: Institute for development and international relations – IRMO

A meeting of the research team within the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ was held on February the 6th, 2018 at the IRMO library. The IRMO research team has reviewed and discussed implemented project activities and the ones still ahead. The conclusion of the meeting is that the project is being successfully implemented. The round tables encouraged a lot of interest and they were very well attended. The main activities still ahead are publication of the book and organisation of international conference about implementation of selected public policies.

Announcement of the round table on the EU Cohesion policy

IRMO in cooperation with the European Commission Representation in Croatia will organize a round table ‘Importance of the EU Cohesion policy for development in Croatia’. The event will be held on the 31st of January 2018 (Wednesday) in the premises of the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Augusta Cesarca 4, Zagreb. The envisaged duration is between 11 a.m. and 14 p.m. The round table will be organised as an activity within the Jean Monnet support to institutions project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ financed by the Erasmus+ program and implemented by IRMO, coordinated by Prof. Visnja Samardzija.

The speakers, representative of the DG Regio of the European Commission from Brussels as well as experts and researchers from Croatia, will highlight the existing and potential impact of Cohesion policy on development of the Republic of Croatia. Topics will particularly emphasize following aspects of the cohesion policy:  experiences of implementation during 2014-2020 period, visible and invisible impacts on Croatian economy, impacts on the regional development within Croatia, implications for the Croatian budget etc. The debate will be focused on comparative assessment between the situation in Croatia with those in other new EU member states. One of the round table goals will also be defining important recommendations for the policy makers in Croatia. Working languages will be Croatian and English.

Program in English PDF

Registration form

Report form the round table “Energy Union – opportunities and challenges in Croatia“held within the Jean Monnet project for institutional support “POLO-Cro28: Policy Observatory in Croatia“

Opatija: Jean Monnet Inter-University Centre of Excellence, Vladimira Nazora Street No. 2.

12 October 2017, 10.30-13.30 hours

The POLO round table “Energy Union – opportunities and challenges in Croatia” was held on Thursday 12 October 2017 in the Jean Monnet Inter-University Centre of Excellence in Opatija. The round table as the fifth such event within project “POLO-Cro28: Policy Observatory in Croatia” was organized in cooperation between IRMO the Faculty of Law at the University of Rijeka and the European Commission Representation in Croatia. The event was opened with welcoming words of Emil Priskić deputy mayor of Opatija, Vesna Crnić Grotić dean of the Faculty of Law from the University of Rijeka and Višnja Samardžija, POLO project coordinator from IRMO. Introductory part was followed by the panel which discussed the EUʼs Energy Union as a framework for implementation of reforms, technical and technological development within the Energy Union, market competition, energy transition as well as the role of civil society organizations in this area. Speakers at the event were Denis Redžepagić from the EC Representation in Croatia, Slavko Krajcar from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Zagreb, Vlatka Butorac Malnar from the Faculty of Law at the University of Rijeka, Vedran Horvat from the Institute for Political Ecology from Zagreb and Vjeran Piršić from the association Eko Kvarner. The round table moderator was Ana-Maria Boromisa* from IRMO. The panel was followed by discussion.

The first speaker, Denis Redžepagić spoke about the concept and the policy of the European Energy Union. During Juncker’s term, the European Commission identified ten priorities until 2020, including the Energy Union and climate. The European energy policy agrees on the goals for the year 2020, while the goals for 2030 are still being discussed. The goals include three elements. The first is reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the increase in the use of renewables and the increase of energy efficiency. The second element is the Paris Agreement as the most important document through which Europe has shown that it has taken the lead in energy transition and care about the climate and environment. The third element is the European Energy Union. The novelty of this Commission is increase in financial support for the European Energy Union, creation of the investment plan so that the private sector can be included in work on policies in the field of energy and the European External Investment Plan as a financial mechanism through which some segments of the energy policy are being carried out outside of the EU. European Energy Union is connected with all of the aforementioned concepts. It is a group of policies all aimed at priorities of the Commission – jobs, growth and investments. Three ideas of the European Energy Union are: modernization of the economy through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with the creation of jobs and economic growth, EU as the global leader in renewables while placing energy efficiency as a priority and lastly, to achieve a socially fair transition. The majority of legal solutions have already been made. Croatia has to work on the implementation of already existing directives and on the investment plan. Along with that there is a political segment which includes a joint effort from both Croatia and the European Commission within the political bodies and associations with a goal to connect countries regarding energetics.

Prof. dr. sc. Slavko Krajcar spoke about technical and technological development within the European Energy Union. In the beginning he mentioned that change is important and that we have to reboot our current way of thinking. He continued by shortly repeating the significance of the Paris Agreement and called for a change in the economic paradigm. European Union, after the Paris Agreement, changed its rhetoric of „must“ from 2020 Climate & Energy Package to „can“ rhetoric where every country says what it can do. Using political tools it will be transposed that everyone does a little bit extra so that the sum equals the targeted values. The goal of clean energy for everyone is reachable through the acceleration of research and innovation as long as these innovations reach the market. The opportunity for the new economy comes from the system of five D’s: decarbonisation, democratization, digitalization, diversification and disruption. Apart from the political solution, the European Union includes experts in the creation of Strategic Energy Technology Plans (SET-Plans). These plans act as certain tools. There was a revision of SET-Plans after the Paris Agreement with the focus now being on: goal oriented research, integrated approach, new management structure and partnership strengthening. SET-Plans are partly financed from the European Union, for example from the Horizon 2020 program, and partly from national programs. The system of higher education as well as the European Technology and Innovation Platform – ETIP and Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology – SNET platform have been incorporated in the idea of the European Energy Union. It was concluded that the problem of energy efficiency can only be solved by strengthening of democracy and public participation.

Vlatka Butorac Malnar focused on the electricity market in Croatia and connected it to the policies of competition. Competition law is based on the postulate that the more entrepreneurs are involved in an activity, the more likely it is that there will be competition between them. Competition increases economic growths and this is seen as a positive phenomenon. Competition rules are regulated both on the EU and at the national level. The rules prohibit cartel agreements, abuse of dominant position and introduce control of concentration. Along with that, state aid is forbidden, except in special cases. Electricity market is by nature a monopoly market. The stance of the EU is that even these markets should be liberalized. In 1992 the EU started to liberalize the electricity market. The year 2007 confirmed sluggishness of the whole process when there was still a concentration and de facto monopoly markets within member states. Today the electricity market is divided into activities that remain public (transfer of electric energy, distribution and organization of the market) and market activities (production, supply and trade). In Croatia, HEP dominates in all activities. This shows that the process of liberalization in Croatia had a good start but never really took off. Renewables are the future because in this field there are big opportunities for growth and competition with all of the benefits of competition. Along with that, the state is able to provide aid in the renewables market.

Vedran Horvat talked about how the Energy Union as a concept and in practice reaches people. Energy Union represents a shift towards low carbon energy, the abandonment of fossil fuel focus, a more flexible, integrated and resilient energy system on the EU level and the relinquishment of the need for coal. The goals of the Energy Union are focused around energy security (the need for more autonomy in the context of outside energy providers), economic effect (connected with the circular economy) and ecological sustainability (favourable influence on the environment and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions). Some of the priorities of the Energy Union are investments in energy efficiency, separation of economic growth and CO2 emissions, decrease in dependency on gas and energy importers and an increase in the electrification of the energy system. The process of energy transition poses some important questions. Firstly, there is a question of the actors that serve as drivers of the transition. Will there be any losers of the energy transition and what is the social effect of the transition? To what degree is transition a matter of market and to what degree is it a matter of solidarity? Are there any limits to the reach of technological revolution? The opportunities that the Energy Union brings are decarbonisation, a local answer to climate change, the creation of a decentralized energy system and energy efficiency. Croatia is lagging behind in the process of energy transition compared to other EU member states. There is not enough social pressure for the transition. According to polls Croatians have very positive opinion on the transition to renewables, the problem lies in the fact that their opinions are rarely heard. In Croatia HEP is both an opportunity and a limiting factor. With HEP in its current state, Croatia cannot start the energy transition.

Vjeran Piršić states that the whole process of energy transition started too late. The data from the European Environment Agency shows that 80% of the premature deaths of Europeans are caused by particles found in fossil fuels. Energy transition had to start several decades ago, like it did on the island Krk. Currently fourteen projects are active on Krk. The biggest one is the project of making Krk an energy independent and CO2 neutral island by the year 2030. This project is in no way linked to big companies. The change to energy efficiency has to come from the local level and from ordinary people who will, instead of asbestos place solar panels over their roofs. Wind energy should be locally owned and provide free energy once the infrastructure is paid off. The main point is that there has to be field work. The solution lies, in what seem to be, small projects that contribute to sustainability and energy efficiency.

The panel was followed by discussion moderated by Dr. Ana-Maria Boromisa. Some of the issues tackled related to the position of Croatia compared to other new EU member states, role of the market in sustainability, preconditions for launching change, future prices of energy, future of the thermal power plant Plomin, LNG terminal etc.

The discussion highlights are the following:

  • Situation in Croatia is often compared with countries in the region
  • Prerequisite for energy transition is an informed consumer and technology
  • Energy transition in Croatia is yet to be launched, energy sector is not democratized and there is no public control over HEP
  • Citizens are passive in energy policy implementation
  • Various energy markets are complementary

Several recommendations can be drawn from this round table:

  • Croatia should not compare with countries that are doing less. Instead, it should either find its own niche or compare with best-performers
  • Promote the idea of energy democracy through public communications
  • Promote active participation of citizens in implementation of energy policy
    • enabling them to become prosumers (including promotion of energy cooperatives with legislative incentives)
    • strengthening democratization and public control over HEP
  • Promote the triple helix R&I and stimulate (financially) the inclusion of research institutions in ERA (European Research Area)
  • Direct part of the public finances used for research into projects in which the market participates within SET-Plans of the EU
  • Solving the problem of energy poverty should be should be connected to energy efficiency projects and renewable energy projects.


*supported by HRZZ Research Project IP -11-2013

Report from the round table “Challenges of competitiveness for the new EU member states and Croatia“ held within the Jean Monnet project for institutional support “POLO-Cro28: Policy Observatory in Croatia“

Zagreb: European Commission Representation in Croatia, August Cesarec Street No. 4.
26 April 2017., 10:00-12:30 hours
Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) in cooperation with the European Commission Representation in Croatia organized a round table “Challenges of competitiveness for the new EU member states and Croatia”. This is the fourth round table organised within a three-year Jean Monnet project for institutional support “POLO-Cro28: Policy Observatory in Croatia” which is financed from the Erasmus+ program of the European Union and implemented by IRMO since September 2015. The round table was opened with the welcoming speeches of H.E. Branko Baričević, Head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia and Višnja Samardžija, project coordinator and the round table moderator from IRMO. The introductory part was followed by the panel discussion with the following participants: Manica Hauptman from the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Krešimir Jurlin from IRMO, Andrea August from the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness and Martinva Basarac Sercić from the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Manica Hauptman presented mechanisms and instruments for strengthening competitiveness in the EU. She listed some of the main challenges confronting the EU in the field of competitiveness such as: support for innovations and development of technology; creating better conditions for the newly founded and growing firms as well as for those which are restarting their business activities; promotion of partnership and synergies for the creation of value chains; addressing social aspect within future industries; investing where it is most needed; and measurement of progress on the scales of competitiveness. Hauptman analysed the position of Croatia within competitiveness scoreboard of the EC competitiveness report and within the EC regional competitiveness index. She concluded that Croatia needs to improve its investment climate and strengthen its productivity because in these areas it legs behind other new EU member states in all sectors.
In his presentation Krešimir Jurlin compared the position of Croatia with those of compatible countries on the international scales of competitiveness. He indicated that in the 2007-2010 period Croatia experienced a significant fall on the international scales of competitiveness such as the ones published by the World Economic Forum or the International Institute for Management Development. Today, the macroeconomic indicators have improved, the institutions have been strengthened and the corruption is reduced. However, concerning some other areas such as efficiency of the labour market or the innovation Croatia is stagnating or even falling behind compared to previous years. According to Jurlin the principal problem with competitiveness of Croatian economy is that there is no advancement towards the economy that would be based on science and high technology.
According to Andrea August there are numerous obstacles which inhibit Croatian economy to become more competitive such as: unpredictable tax policy, longevity of the court procedures, short timeframes for adopting new regulations or the over-regulation. She noted that Croatia is not implementing sufficient number of reforms to be able to move upwards on the international scales of competitiveness. Nonetheless, she mentioned examples of recently implemented reforms which directly impact Croatia’s competitiveness like the termination of seals or starting reform of the central business register. August also indicated that adoption of the Strategy of smart specialization in 2016 allowed Croatia to become eligible for using the assets of the Operational program competitiveness and cohesion. So far Croatia used this source to launch over 100 projects which have a commercial values of some 600 million euro.
The last panellist Martina Basarac Sertić presented experiences with the adoption of smart specialization strategies in Croatia and other new EU member states. She explained that smart specialization strategies represent part of the EU’s cohesion policy targeted towards reduction of the risks between the EU regions and assuring growth in whole of the EU. It is the new generation of innovation policy which goes beyond classical concept of investing in research and technology because it starts from the notion that all countries and their regions cannot be equally efficient in all areas. Basarac indicated that in its smart specialization strategy Croatia has chosen six key areas: i) transport and mobility, ii) energy and sustainable environment, iii) security, iv) biochemistry, v) health and the quality of live and vi) food. She concluded her presentation by underlining objection of the European Commission that most EU regions are still not supportive enough towards financing risky ideas with contain significant potential for innovation.
The panel was followed by the Q&A session between speakers and the audience. The discussion touch upon various issues including development of Croatian ICT sector in the context of strengthening competitiveness. It was indicated that according to the Global Information Technology Report 2016 of the World Economic Forum Croatia is positioned on the 54th place out of 139. This means that Croatia is a medium developed country, but still below countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Digital Economy and Society Index – DESI has also been commented. According to data for 2016 Croatia is placed on the 24th place within the EU. However, it was indicated that Croatia has registered the largest increase in the value of DESI of all EU member states and that it is placed within the group of countries which are quickly approaching the EU average.


A meeting of the IRMO research team for Jean Monnet Support to Institutions and Associations project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ was held

A meeting of the IRMO research team for Jean Monnet Support to Institutions and Associations project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ was held

Institute for development and international relations – IRMO

A brief meeting of the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ IRMO research team was held on December 13, 2016 in the IRMO library. The IRMO research team has reviewed and discussed current implementation of the project and it has also agreed on the activities for the following period.It was concluded that the project is being implemented successfully and in line with planned project activities. So far, within the ‘POLO-Cro28’project 2 policy papers by IRMO researches and 4 analytical commentaries by young IRMO researches have been published and 3 round table discussions have been organizedin cooperation with the European Commission Representation in Zagreb.

Presentation of the PONT – Career Skills Training held in IRMO for the IRMO research team implementing project POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia

Presentation of the PONT – Career Skills Training held in IRMO for the IRMO research team implementing project POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia

Institute for development and international relations – IRMO

4th November 2016, 11.00 – 12.00

An informative presentation on PONT – Career Skills Training was held on 4th November, 2016 at the Institute for development and international relations – IRMO. The PONT – Career Skills Training was organized by The Trans European Policy Studies Association – TEPSA in the framework of the Professional Training on EU Affairs – PONT project, co-funded by the ERASMUS+/Jean Monnet Programme Support to Institutions. The training took place in Brussels, October 17-21, 2016. IRMO researcher and PONT Training participant Ivana Skazlić has presented main insights and shared the knowledge and experiences she gained during the program related to the topics of writing of policy bfriefs and press releasses as well as interviewing the policy-makers. Presentation was intended to young IRMO researches who are writing short analytical commentatires in the framework of the POLO-Cro28 project, co-funded by the ERASMUS+/Jean Monnet Programme Support to Institutions, currently being implemented by IRMO. In addition, the presentation was also attended by POLO-Cro28 project’s mentors from IRMO and other IRMO researches.

‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ kick-off meeting


Institute for development and international relations – IRMO, Library

7th October 2015, 09.00 – 12.00

A kick-off meeting of the Jean Monnet project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ was held on Wednesday 7th October 2015. The project was awarded to the IRMO under the Erasmus+ program. Along the presentation of the concept of the project and formation of the research teams, the methodological framework and guidelines for the project implementation were also discussed. The meeting was attended by IRMO researches and young researches. The project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ will be officially presented to wider public within the first out of four project’s round tables, scheduled for November 2015.

POLO Policy Paper upute za autore

POLO presentation IRMO Kick-off