After the working consultation: The Government established a special project group for the regular absorption of funds, as in the previous period, it was catastrophic!

Foto: Vlada RS

Due to the catastrophic absorption of the European funds in the previous time period, the Government, at the working consultation in Brdo pri Kranju, established a special project group, the work of which will primarily be on the operational level, and it will be headed by the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy. The group will mainly be responsible for the regular absorption of funds and project management – its priorities will be healthcare and long-term care for the elderly.

The Government announced that after successfully concluding the negotiations and securing as much as 10.5 billion euros of funds for Slovenia, on Wednesday, they held a working consultation on the absorption of funding. The Government first took a look at the absorption of funds from the 2014-2020 EU budget, where Slovenia recorded a low rate of realization, at only 39 percent. For this year, its absorption rate is once again extremely low. By June 30th, 2020, Slovenia had absorbed only 16 percent of the funding, and significant progress has only been recorded from March onwards.

According to the Government data, approximately 40 new support decisions in the total amount of 260 million euros have been issued, of which 152 million euros are intended for “COVID-19 operations.” As an example, the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning made a presentation on the topic, as it has 62 projects in the total amount of 294 million euros under the Agreements for the development of regions mechanism: 46 of those are sewerage systems, and 16 are plumbing systems. Since 2017 and up until March 2020, the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy has not received a single application for approval! Six support decisions in the amount of 36 million euros were issued between March and June.

Slovenia can use four times the amount of funds next year than it has so far
All previous data, therefore, shows that the Government will have to devote particular attention to the absorption of funds secured in the recent negotiations. The majority of this funding will have to be used in the following three years. In total, more than 1.5 billion euros are envisaged for 2021, nearly 1.4 billion euros for 2022, and a little less than 1.2 billion euros for 2023. So for next year, this means four times the amount of annual funding Slovenia usually draws. In order to avoid the scenario from the previous years, when Slovenia failed to draw even the funding that was intended for us, today’s consultation concluded with the decision to establish a special project group, the work of which will primarily be on the operational level, and it will be headed by the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy. The group will mainly be responsible for the regular absorption of funds and project management.

The Government also concluded that the current two priorities are healthcare and the long-term care for the elderly, including the construction of new nursing homes and the modernization of existing homes, along with securing additional staff. Mayors and regional development agencies will also be involved in the drafting of the recovery and resilience plan, which is to be considered by the end of August.

Marko Puš