One of the most renown “small” observatories in the world with the education centre attached – the one in Višnjan in Istria – is going to keep existing, although it was a close call. After a few years of shutting programmes one after another due to lack of funding, local counties came to their senses and realised the tourist potential of the whole educational centre. More information should be published soon; in the meantime, the Croatian version of the text is here, but what is sticking out of the whole case are a few sentences spoken by the observatory and educational centre’s founder and manager, Korado Korlević, where he addressed a wider issue: EU funds being handed out to scientific, cultural and other NGO projects.
“We have seen that this is a very cruel money, that, in the end, it boils down to violence of administratively stronger inflicted upon the weaker. We have also witnessed that the government services in Croatia, instead of helping out, just wait for you to make a mistake and then issue a fine and ask of you to return the money you received. You write projects, you struggle, you wait for the funds for two years, and then someone demands that you return 10 percent because you didn’t do everything according to the 600-page manual. We decided it was best if Europe and the state keep their money. I can’t ask of the girls who work here to go through this administrative violence, to be on edge and unable to sleep throughout the week when they are writing projects and reports. No country should do this to their citizens.”