Minister Černač in Slovenska Bistrica: “EU-supported projects contribute significantly to the development of municipalities.”
- Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy
Zvonko Černač, Minister without portfolio, competent for development and the EU cohesion policy, and State Secretary mag. Monika Kirbiš Rojs visited Slovenska Bistrica. They met with the Mayor dr. Ivan Žagar and discussed the topical issues regarding the implementation of European Cohesion Policy, by also visiting projects that are being implemented with the help of EU funding.
In his talks with the Mayor and his colleagues the Minister underlined that the Government has under the post-crisis package allocated between 6 and 7 percent of GDP to assist the inhabitants as well as for economic recovery of which EUR 280 million come from the available funding of the 2014-2020 period that will be used for job preservation, the recovery of the healthcare system and the economy.
The Minister said that the COVID-19 related situation has an expected impact on the implementation of European Cohesion Policy in Slovenia and on the realisation of the planned projects in the frame of the current financial perspective. “The impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of projects is defined as a disaster that could not have been predicted, avoided or prevented. This resulted in a situation that needs to be addressed with specific measures that support the beneficiaries.”
The Minister is certain that the situation caused by COVID-19 will also have an impact on the priorities of the next programming period 2021-2027. “The priorities have changed in light of this new situation. What was considered a priority yesterday is no longer a priority today. And what is viewed as a priority today may no longer be a priority tomorrow” underlined the Minister. “To recover from the current crisis, we need to include in Slovenia’s development cycle all the available sources and not rely solely on European Cohesion Policy funds. Diversification of various sources in crucial for the development of regions and municipalities” he added.
The Minister and his colleagues listened to the representatives of the municipality. The Mayor dr. Ivan Žagar thanked that the Minister and the Government for raising the lump sum for municipalities and underlined that when it comes to project implementation the municipality often faces long environmental procedures and other administrative obstacles.
The Minister underlined that Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy as well as the entire Government is aware of the bottlenecks. The legislative amendments that came into force on 1 May 2020 introduced certain changes in the environmental field that will speed up the implementation of the already approved projects which have no environmental issues and have all the necessary permits. The third package of legislative amendments, which is being drafted, will introduce changes which currently hinder the operational implementation of projects.
“EU funds help us create numerous stories of success. Today we visited two such projects – the regional waste management centre and the industrial zone Impol” said the Minister.
With the aim of being prepared for the new programming period of European Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 as best as possible, Minister Černač and State Secretary mag. Monika Kirbiš Rojs will continue visiting municipalities until the end of June. Activities with all other partners and stakeholders will take place simultaneously. Besides visiting Slovenska Bistrica, they also visited Radenci and Lendava.