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Minister Jevšek: The 2021–2027 Cohesion Policy Programme is on the home straight

At the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, the first session of the Working Group for Local Self-Government took place, consisting of the leadership representatives of all three representative municipal associations in addition to Dr Aleksander Jevšek, the Minister of Development and European Cohesion Policy, and Sanja Ajanović Hovnik, the Minister of Public Administration. The main topic of today’s session was the preparation of strategic documents for drawing European funds in the 2021–2027 period.

"The preparation of the programme for implementing the Cohesion Policy in the 2021–2027 period is on the home straight. The draft of the final harmonised version was sent to Brussels yesterday. We hope and expect the European Commission to approve the document by the end of November. The fact is that we are still at risk of losing some half a billion euros if the programme is not closed before the new year," Minister Jevšek explained regarding the current situation in the preparation of one of the fundamental documents that are necessary for accessing European funds.

He emphasised that all line ministries, representatives of cohesion regions and local communities participated in the preparation of the programme. The Minister thanked them for their cooperation and added, "Not everyone is fully pleased with the draft programme we produced, but we have attained an agreement within what was possible."

He further noted that the new government began addressing the drafting of two fundamental documents for the 2021–2027 period on 1 June 2022: the Partnership Agreement and the programme, which were not harmonised by the previous government. The first document, i.e. the Partnership Agreement, enabling Slovenia to have access to EUR 3.26 billion of European funds, was recently approved and will be signed next week when Elisa Ferreira, the Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, visits Slovenia, said Minister Jevšek.

He also mentioned the projects from the past 2014–2020 financial framework, which were halted or slowed down due to the price increase and issues linked to the war in Ukraine, and which is problematic for numerous municipalities. The Minister stated that the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy will make every effort to ensure that the projects already approved will be implemented and that all European funds from the 2014–2020 period, which must be spent by 31 December 2023, will be utilised. The European Commission is also preparing certain measures in this regard to mitigate such problems.