Minister Černač visits the Posavje region: ''Additional EU funding for COVID-19 recovery is not only an excellent opportunity but also an immense responsibility’’
Minister for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion Zvonko Černač met today with mayors from the Posavje region. They discussed progress in the implementation of 2014-2020 projects and preparation of the programming period beyond 2020.
Minister Černač met with mayors of Brežice, Bistrica ob Sotli, Krško, Kostanjevica na Krki, Radeče and Sevnica and said that the implementation of EU Cohesion Policy should be made as effective and efficient as possible, especially in light of the additional funding mobilized by the European Commission to facilitate the COVID-19 recovery in Member States. In Slovenia’s case, this amounts to additional EUR 2.6 billion in EU funding. ‘’The figure nearly matches the total 2014-2020 Cohesion envelope of Slovenia. This is an excellent opportunity for our country, but at the same time it places a huge responsibility on our shoulders – we will have to be quick in preparing the necessary documents and identifying the intervention areas – the projects and programmes that are most underfunded and will be eligible for support. The funding will be earmarked for safeguarding jobs and creating new ones, and for supporting the SMEs and the tourism industry which is projected to record a massive revenue drop. A bulk of the funding will also be earmarked for healthcare infrastructure. In this context, Slovenia intends to build two clinics for infectious diseases, one in Ljubljana and the other in Maribor. The money will also be ring fenced for increasing the health system capacity and preparedness.’’
Minister Černač underlined that municipalities tend to seek financial support for projects involving hard or physical infrastructure and less for projects involving soft content. In particular, development of sewerage systems is the most pressing need reported by the municipalities across the country. ‘’During the process of accession negotiations, Slovenia made a commitment to develop sewerage systems serving agglomerations with over 2,000 PE in the first stage. That is why the funding earmarked for systems serving agglomerations with less than 2,000 PE was not available. The need for such collection systems is high. We have already kick started preparation of the 2021-2027 programmes and we will take into due account the needs observed on the ground and insist they are recognized,’’ added the minister; he underlined that by providing adequate wastewater collection and treatment systems across the country Slovenia will work towards the important Cohesion Policy objective of green Slovenia.