Minister Černač at the Conference on the Evaluation of EU Cohesion Policy
Minister for Development and EU Cohesion Policy Zvone Černač gave opening remarks at the 9th Conference on the Evaluation of EU Cohesion Policy which was organised in Porto, Portugal. Minister Černač joined the conference via an online platform at the invitation of the European Commission in his capacity as current chair of the council consisting of EU ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy.
Minister Černač initially stressed that dealing with the covid-19 pandemic has made the EU stronger and tougher. ''We've proved that solidarity is a value that connects us inseparably. Cohesion Policy has had and will undoubtedly have an important role in tackling the pandemic and its consequences. Additionally, the recovery of the European economy and society will ride on the efficient implementation of the NextGenerationEU recovery instrument, in particular of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.''
Minister Černač outlined the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency on Cohesion Policy; the priorities focus on the recovery of the European economy through the green transition and the digital transformation. The Minister underlined that Slovenian Presidency was in favour of a strong Cohesion Policy in the future, one that will take into due account the partnership principle and specific features of individual member states and regions. He added that Cohesion Policy should guarantee equal starting points for everyone, no matter the member state, region or town they come from. In addition, the Minister said that the Slovenian Presidency was working to ensure flexibility and introduce simplifications that would make project implementation easier and facilitate access to EU funding.
The Minister also highlighted that after the adoption of the Cohesion Policy legislative package in last June it was now up to the member states to draw up quality partnership agreements and operational programmes that would contribute to the achievement of the goals of the EU, member states and regions. He added that Slovenian Presidency was promoting exchange of views and experience with a view to drafting 2021-2027 strategic and programming documents. He also noted that the Presidency was striving for synergies and complementarities with other EU funding sources and advocated for involving partners in the programming process with a strong focus on added value and a special emphasis on bringing Cohesion Policy closer to the EU citizens. The Minister concluded that EU funds connect the EU citizens in various ways, come from the EU citizens and must get back to them through better infrastructure, high-quality services and ensuring a level playing field for all.