Partnership Agreement between Slovenia and the European Commission
Minister for Development and European Cohesion Policy, dr. Alexander Jevšek, and European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, signed a partnership agreement between the Republic of Slovenia and the European Commission in Ljubljana. With the approval and signing of the agreement, Slovenia has opened the way to EUR 3.26 billion of European funds in the future programme period.
One of the key government priorities, after taking office in June, was to draw up a Partnership Agreement and the European Cohesion Policy Programme, which are fundamental documents for the 2021-2027 financial perspective, emphasised Minister dr. Aleksander Jevšek at a press conference after the official signing of the Agreement:
"We have succeeded with an inclusive approach, hard work and close cooperation with the European Commission, the ministries, the government services, the development councils of cohesion regions, the economic and social partners, because we believe that we can form the future together, in dialogue with stakeholders and upon understanding the challenges ahead."
The Agreement stipulates that in the 2021-2027 financial perspective, which expires in 2029, Slovenia will earmark:
- EUR 806 million for green and low-carbon transition; for investments i.e. gaining solar and wind energy and improving the energy efficiency of buildings;
- EUR 727 million for development, research and innovation; for investments in research infrastructure and research capacity;
- EUR 769 million for social inclusion, employment, education and training;
- EUR 511 million for sustainable and smart mobility; for investments i.e. the modernisation of public passenger transport, especially railway infrastructure;
- EUR 95 million for territorial approaches i.e. urban and local development;
- EUR 250 million for the Savinja-Šalek region in order to abandon the use of coal and restructure Zasavje.
Minister Jevšek expressed confidence that Slovenia will succeed in completing the European Cohesion Policy Programme by the end of the year: "Today, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the European Cohesion Policy Programme. We expect the programme to be approved at both development councils of cohesion regions in the near future, this will be followed by a submission to a formal approval to the European Commission. Upon considering the procedures and deadlines, we expect the European Commission to approve the programme by the end of the year, which is our common goal."
The drawing down of funds for the next programme period will commence when the programme is approved by the European Commission, said Minister Jevšek.
Upon signing, the Commissioner Ferreira said: "Together, we will build a smarter and increasingly modern Slovenian economy, a greener and fairer Slovenia. The Partnership Agreement is signed - now it needs to be implemented in practice. We have approved this Agreement together, now we must make sure that it is successful."
She emphasised some of the priority areas of investment in the new programme period. She said that it was necessary to increase investment in digitalisation and competitiveness, and above all, to invest in innovation. The Commissioner highlighted that Slovenia has not done enough in this area; therefore, in the new programme period, we have earmarked EUR 727 million for this purpose. Moreover, the Commissioner emphasised the area of the green transition and the increase in the share of renewable energy sources, which is covered by the new agreement.
Last week, the European Commission approved the Partnership Agreement; today, the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, arrived for a two-day visit to Slovenia. Following today's signing of the Agreement, the Commissioner will tomorrow visit some projects in Maribor and Murska Sobota, which were co-financed by the European funds.
The Cohesion Policy is the central investment policy of the European Union and significantly contributes to the faster development of the Union. It pursues the long-term objective of reducing economic and social differences, which can only be done through the long-term planning of structural reforms and investments. The Agreement includes the investment of all the European Cohesion Policy Funds, including the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund+, the Cohesion Fund and the Just Transition Fund. Moreover, it includes investments of the Fund for Aid to the most Deprived and the Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.