BRUSSELS, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission on Monday approved Croatia's investment plan to use the European Union's cohesion policy funds worth nearly 450 million euros (600 million U.S. dollars) allocated to the bloc's latest member state.
"This is a crucial step for Croatia on the path to competitiveness. Cohesion policy funds must be invested where most needed to strengthen the local economy, increase labor market participation and to capitalize on the nation's assets," Johannes Hahn, the EU's commissioner for regional policy, said on Monday.
The approved plan set out Croatia's investment priorities to boost growth and create jobs, with three strategic goals, namely economic competitiveness, optimal economic conditions for job creation, and balanced regional development.
As Croatia joined the bloc only six months before the EU's current seven-year financial framework, all projects selected for the investment will need to be completed by the end of 2016.