In recent weeks, the European Union has taken action that would have been unthinkable until recently. State aid rules have been made more flexible than ever so that large and small businesses can get the support they need. They have loosened budget rules so that national and EU funds can quickly reach those in need. This allowed the EU institutions and Member States to make 2.8 billion euros available to fight the crisis, the largest of its kind in the world.
Thus, it is first and foremost important to mention the investment initiative in response to the coronavirus. It includes measures to channel € 37 billion to citizens, regions and countries most severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The appropriation is intended for health systems, small and medium-sized enterprises, labor markets and other sensitive parts of Member States' economies. It is important to emphasize that of the EUR 37 billion released, the Commission estimates that Croatia could use a total of around EUR 1.158 billion. Governments must devise the best way to use this money to repair the damage caused by this threat. The money is intended to sustain and heal their economies and to finance jobs, give people minimum wages, and not be fired. Funds should primarily be directed to small and medium-sized enterprises in order to repair the damage they have caused and to adapt to the new conditions that will certainly occur. Part of the money will also be allocated to social funds, to the poorest and those who cannot work. Nothing will be as it used to be, new strategies must be worked on, and the money is now secured. This is money for structural reforms, public administration reform, but also reform of the overall economy. We are a tourism addicted country and that has to change. We need to concentrate on self-sustainability, developing agriculture, self-sustaining small businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises and especially digitization.
These decisions were made at a time of great importance for the Republic of Croatia, which at the same time found itself in the midst of two major threats. The proposals accepted are key to mitigating the effects of the health and humanitarian crisis that have hit our country and the City of Zagreb. It is important for the country to come out of this crisis with a diversified economy that will no longer depend solely on the tourist season and good weather, which will depend on how many people will work, how creative those will be in developing areas that have been neglected so far. and depended on imports.