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State Secretary Kirbiš Rojs at the Podravje Region Development Conference

  • Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy
State Secretary Kirbiš Rojs yesterday attended the Podravje Region Development Conference which was held in Lenart v Slovenskih goricah. She talked about the funding opportunities offered by the EU Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

According to the State Secretary, investment needs are huge in literally all areas: ''As we were drawing up our Recovery and Resilience Plan we especially focused on strategic investments and gaps that cannot be covered by Cohesion Policy. The new Recovery and Resilience Facility provides additional resources that can be invested, for example, in wastewater infrastructure serving agglomerations with less than 2,000 PE. We are committed to making the most of the available EU funding and delivering as many investments as possible while finding ways to secure other funding source. Complementarities, synergies and priority-oriented action will guide our work’’, she said.

Slovenia has a total of nearly EUR 10 billion available by the end of 2030. ''The 2014-2020 period is drawing to a close. We've managed to get two thirds reimbursed from the EU budget and we intend to get the remainder from Brussels by the end of 2023. The additional funding under React-EU to help our country respond to the covid-19 crisis has already been mobilised. Over half of React-EU funding has been ring-fenced for projects, part of it already paid out to beneficiaries, and further projects have already been developed. The National Recovery and Resilience Plan is about to kick off. It provides EUR 1.8 billion in grants and a further EUR 0.7 billion in loans. The first calls for proposals will presumably be published at the beginning of next year by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning. Funding opportunities for a range of beneficiaries are out there, we just need to make the most of them,'' continued the State Secretary.      

On this occasion, different regional players talked about the development priorities and development areas of the Podravje region. They said that projects in the areas of accelerating R&D, promoting entrepreneurship and logistics were seen as strategic investments. Several major projects were mentioned, including Technology Innovation Center INNOVUM, Smart Hub Maribor Logistic Center at the Maribor Airport, Podravje Networked Incubator and Invest Podravje. ‘’I’m happy to see that you’ve followed the recommendations of government departments while designing regional projects,’’ the State Secretary stressed.

The conference featured a panel discussion in which the State Secretary touched on issues like how to successfully compete for EU funding and find ways to realise key development priorities of the region. In terms of uncertainty surrounding the future of the mechanism Agreement on the development of region she said: ''You can expect that the instrument will be implemented in the upcoming 2021-2027 period as well, but first, we need to simplify the procedures and remove administrative barriers identified in the period 2014-2020. Regions and regional players remain to be an important stakeholder in the programming process,'' the State Secretary concluded.