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State Secretary Kirbiš Rojs at the 4th Business and Construction Industry Trends Conference

  • Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy
The State Secretary attended the annual Business and Construction Industry Trends Conference. This year's edition of the event revolved around the issue of ‘’Ways to make best use of the rising investment for sustainable growth’’. At the panel ‘’Investments in green and sustainable building – European Commission guidelines and good practices’’, the State Secretary talked about the investment areas under the Cohesion Policy and Recovery and Resilience Facility.

According to the latest data issued by the European Commission, the building sector generates around 40% of all energy-related CO2 emissions, 40% of solid waste and accounts for up to 40% of primary energy use. The construction sector is a major final energy consumer: ''About a quarter of the energy used during a building's lifecycle is the energy used for its construction and the built-in materials. If we increase energy efficiency standards and roll out smart building management solutions, we could halve the energy consumption in buildings,'' explained the State Secretary.

''The construction industry is booming and has seen growing demand. On the one hand, this growth is propelled by the infrastructure projects; we're building hospitals, the second track, third development axis, water supply networks, wastewater infrastructure and so on. On the other hand, the low interest rates and easy access to loans help drive this boom. EU funds also importantly support such investments,'' the State Secretary described the situation in the construction industry.

She referred to the funding opportunities for reforms and investments under the EUR 2.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan. ''The European Commission has already paid out EUR 231 million to kick start the Plan. The bulk of investments will go for green transition which includes construction projects, investments in energy projects and utility infrastructure projects. The Recovery and Resilience Plan has set aside EUR 86 million for improving energy efficiency in public sector buildings. The goal of energy renovation measures on public buildings is to cut their energy use by 30% compared to the figures before the renovation. Renovation will notably be carried out on public administration and social housing buildings, including healthcare infrastructure. SMEs and other players will also be able to take part in the projects through public-private partnerships. By investing in the renovation of the public sector buildings we wish that the public sector takes the lead in advancing the quality assurance system in energy renovation projects,'' said the State Secretary.

In line with the principle of complementarity, Slovenia intends to combine the measures set out in the Recovery and Resilience Plan with the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 funds. Construction industry will play a prominent role in the projects co-financed by the Cohesion Fund; the latter accounts for about 22% of the available funding. Other areas co-financed by the Cohesion Fund will include environmental, transport and energy infrastructure. Infrastructure projects will indirectly also receive ERDF support, which accounts for 48% of the available funding. ''Most of the funding in cohesion region Zahodna Slovenija will go for smart, innovative and green thematic areas, so that co-financing of infrastructure will be for the most part possible as a top-up in the scope of identified thematic sets. This will make investments in infrastructure sustainable, as the infrastructure will be required to achieve broader goals. In terms of investments in cohesion region Vzhodna Slovenija, however, we’ll have more room for manoeuvre,’’ concluded the State Secretary.