Government takes note of the Report on the Implementation of EU Cohesion Policy 2014–2020 in the Period January 2014-June 2019
The latest Report on the Implementation of EU Cohesion Policy in the Period January 2014-June 2019 and the Report on the Implementation of the Action Plan to Accelerate the Spending under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of EU Cohesion Policy in the Period 2014-2020 were presented to Slovenian Government. The Government will submit the documents to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia.
The report outlines the progress made in implementing Cohesion Policy in the Republic of Slovenia in the period January 2014-end of June 2019. By the end of June 2019, altogether 434 funding decisions for projects, programmes or calls for proposals worth a total of EUR 2.4 billion were issued, accounting for 78% of the total funding available (EU part). The amount included EUR 943.2 million from the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund earmarked for cohesion region Vzhodna Slovenija and EUR 743.4 million ring-fenced for cohesion region Zahodna Slovenija, whereas the Cohesion Fund contribution totalling EUR 702.9 million are to be used across the whole of Slovenia. Following the calls for proposals launched by individual line ministries, projects and programmes worth nearly EUR 2 billion (64% of the total funding) were being implemented on the ground by the end of June 2019, and over EUR 808 million was paid out of the national budget to the beneficiaries (including financial instruments), which makes for 26% of the funding made available to Slovenia. In the same period, Slovenia submitted payment claims amounting to EUR 758 million to the European Commission; the figure, which represented 25% of Slovenia’s total Cohesion Policy allocation, grew to EUR 779 million by the end of August.
According to the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) which acts as the Managing Authority of the respective operational programme, the status of the first two implementation stages, i.e. the number of funding decisions issued and the amount of the funds committed to finance projects and programmes, was relatively satisfactory; nevertheless, GODC underlined that further efforts were needed to speed things up and improve the phase of making payments out of the budget. Thus, GODC called on project managers to speed up the implementation of individual projects and programmes on the ground to be able to issue invoices for the activities carried out, and invited the relevant ministries to accelerate the certification of invoices.
The measures and activities identified in the Action Plan to Accelerate the Spending under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of EU Cohesion Policy in the Period 2014-2020 are being carried out according to the schedule. Considerable progress was made in terms of addressing the weaknesses identified in the operation of the respective IT system by the Audit Authority, i.e. the Budget Supervision Office of the Republic of Slovenia in 2018. In June 2019, the Managing Authority informed the Audit Authority that the underlying issues were addressed and solved. The findings of the follow-up audit revealed that the system was working, providing reliable data and ensuring that EU Cohesion Policy was implemented efficiently and effectively. The measures seeking to optimise IT system performance and improve user experience remain one of the priorities of the Managing Authority and will further be carried out.