EU cohesion policy minister says key documents are almost complete

Ljubljana – The drafting of the Cohesion Policy Implementation Program for 2021-2027 is in the final stages and Cohesion Policy Minister Aleksander Jevšek believes it will be approved by both cohesion regions of the country in early October.

Speaking with STA, Jevšek said many stakeholders, including government ministries and offices, communities and regions, economic and social partners, contributed to the development of the implementation programme.

“They all worked hard … We had a lot of talks and made a lot of adjustments so I hope everything goes smoothly,” Jevusek said on Wednesday and Thursday at the European Commission’s Elisa. Ferreira told STA before his visit.

The minister said partner agreements and implementation programs have been a top priority for his department since the new government took office on June 1.

“When I took over the Government Development Agency and the European Cohesion Policy, both documents were… far from finished and harmonization had not started. It was clear.”

The Department immediately began dialogue with all stakeholders and began harmonizing both documents. The partner agreement has already been approved, but Jevšek believes the implementation program will also be approved by the end of the year.

He expects the Development Councils of both Slovenian unity regions to approve the program in early October, followed by the government’s adoption of the document, followed by formal approval from the European Commission.

One of the main challenges in drafting the program was finding ways to increase the share of co-financing in underdeveloped regions of the developing cohesive regions of the West.

Under EU rules, projects in less developed regions are 80% funded by EU funds and projects in more developed regions are 40% funded by EU funds. The eastern region of Slovenia is less developed, while the western region is more developed.

Stakeholders have reached agreement that the state will align with the EU Cohesion Fund on a project in the Western Cohesion region involving public sector beneficiaries. “This means that, for example, local governments only have to provide 20% of the funding.”

Stakeholders are rushing to withdraw funds from the old perspective as new financial perspective documents are being prepared. By the end of August, a total of 73% of available EU funds had been withdrawn.

The whole government is striving to complete all projects on time so that all funds can be drawn in terms of 2014-2020. “We still have some time,” said Jevšek, as the deadline is at the end of the year.

Rising costs and supply chain issues are negatively impacting project implementation. “This applies not only to Slovenia, but to all member states, especially the regions along the eastern border of the EU, where the effects of the war are felt very strongly by Ukraine’s neighbors.

“We are aware of the risks and challenges and are tracking the implementation of the project to its completion.”

Jevšek, who also served as mayor, advocated for a simple and uniform fundraising procedure before being appointed minister. He said in an interview that some simplifications are already built into the system.

Jevšek referred to Slovenia’s plan to establish a state, saying that this is a long-term process and requires broad discussions involving all stakeholders. “Given the situation in Slovenia and the EU, other things were a priority.”

“I think it would be wise to set up provinces, but I can’t say that we will be able to do that this season.” I am sure that withdrawing funds will be more successful if you have

However, until those are established, the minister advises municipalities to partner with other municipalities for projects of national and regional importance. EU cohesion policy minister says key documents are almost complete

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