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State Secretary Kirbiš Rojs: We will continue to ensure that young people are not put at a disadvantage

State Secretary mag. Monika Kirbiš Rojs addressed the participants of the on-line event, organised by the European Committee of the Regions, Cohesion as a value – benefits and costs for young people of transitioning to a post Covid-19 world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on all aspects of society by also deeply affecting the lives of young people who were faced with unconventional forms of distance learning, a lack of adequate ICT equipment, a lack of social interactions, isolation and difficult access to healthcare.

The European Union has mobilised all available resources to respond to the crisis. With the help of EU funds, Member States implement numerous measures to strengthen public healthcare and mitigate the social and economic consequences. In the fight against the pandemic, the European Cohesion Policy has made EUR 13 billion available under the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund. ‘Slovenia has reallocated EU funding available under the 2014-2020 period, as well as made available funds under the React-EU initiative and national funds. We are thus focusing investments on addressing the crisis and finding ways to recovery. As a result of the crisis, the priorities and sectors most affected by the pandemic have become areas eligible under the Cohesion Policy. We had to respond quickly in the terms of the resilience of the healthcare systems, social security, culture, tourism and infrastructure. This year, we have also approved a number of investments under the React-EU initiative. For instance, in August we approved funds for the purchase of modern information and communication technology for educational institutions in the amount of EUR 13.6 million,’ underlined the State Secretary.

In her address, State Secretary also stressed the role local and regional authorities play in connecting Cohesion Policy measures and the Recovery and Resilience Plans. ‘We need to take a focused approach to the planning of measures and ensure synergies between various European sources of funding so that we can increase their impact and the benefits they bring to the people. The ministries will include a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives of youth organizations, in the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programming process,’ said the State Secretary.

In the past, Slovenia has realised numerous projects and programmes for young people with the help of EU funds. ‘In the current period 2014-2020, over 20,000 people have joined employment programmes of which over 7,000 are young people. More than 5,000 young people have also joined scholarship schemes. We will continue to ensure that young people are not put at a disadvantage and that they are given the right opportunities within the framework of EU funds,’ the State Secretary added.