Minister Han presents financial support of EUR 1.168 million for economic and tourism activities of Slovenians in Porabje region
The Minister of the Economy, Tourism, and Sports Matjaž Han, together with State Secretaries, mag. Dejan Židan and Vesna Humar from the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad, visited the Slovenian national community in the Porabje region in Hungary. He was briefed on the state of the economy in the Porabje region and presented the substantive and financial support of the Ministry of the Economy for the economic and tourism activities of Slovenians in the Porabje region. Within a month, the Ministry will publish two calls for tenders with a total value of EUR 1.168 million.
Minister Han met with the representatives of the Slovenian minority in Hungary, the mayors of the Porabje region and local businessmen at the Slovenian Lipa Cultural and Information Centre in Monošter. On the basis of the Programme to Promote the Economic Base of the Hungarian National Community 2021–2024, he and the Alliance of Slovenians in Hungary signed the “Agreement on Implementation and Financing of Measure 2.1: Tourism Investments – Slovenian National Community in Hungary“ for tourism investments in the area inhabited by members of the Slovenian national community in Hungary.
Minister Matjaž Han emphasised: “I am pleased to have met with our Slovenians in the Porabje region today and to have learned about their work and the state of the economy. This year, the ministry will allocate almost EUR 1.2 million for the development of their economic activities and tourism, and EUR 300,000 for the renovation of their Slovenian Cultural Centre. Last but not least, I am delighted to see how much the local entrepreneurs value our contribution to development. We will continue with this support.”
The Minister announced two calls for tenders based on the above mentioned programme. The second Public Call for Tenders - Promotion of economic investment by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the area inhabited by members of the indigenous Slovenian national community in Hungary - is expected to be published by the end of May. A total of EUR 488,000 will be allocated, which will be available for multiple application deadlines or until the funds are exhausted. The purpose of the call for tenders is to encourage the establishment of new capacities and to upgrade existing production capacities in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the eligible area of the Slovenian Porabje region. Eligible applicants are SMEs, and eligible costs will primarily include construction and artisanal works, machinery and equipment purchases. Each eligible applicant may receive funding ranging from EUR 3,000 to a maximum of EUR 50,000 per project.
Additionally, a Public Tender - Promotion of tourism and complementary activities, as well as the development of local products in the area inhabited by members of the indigenous Slovenian national community in Hungary - is expected to be published in June of this year. The ministry aims to promote the development of tourism and complementary activities in the Slovenian Porabje region. A total of EUR 680,000 will be allocated. Eligible applicants will include SMEs and other entities such as associations, public institutions, development agencies, and tourist farms. Each eligible applicant may receive funding in line with the “de minimis” state aid scheme, up to a maximum of 75% of eligible costs. Eligible costs will include construction and artisanal works, equipment purchases, marketing communication expenses, and other costs incurred by external contractors.
During the visit to the Porabje region, Minister Han also held a separate meeting with Mayor Gábor Huszár of the Municipality of Monošter, focusing on economic topics related to the cross-border region. The Minister expressed to the Mayor his interest in exploring the possibility of subsidies from the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) for smaller companies with investments below EUR 10 million and fewer than 50 employees, considering the unique nature of the ethnically mixed area of the Porabje region. This would enable Slovenian companies in the region to also apply for funding.
As part of the visit, the Slovenian delegation also visited the Slovenian Model Farm in Gornji Senik and “Porabski mizar”, a company which serves as a case of good practice in the development of a family business.
Programme to Promote the Economic Base of the Hungarian National Community 2021–2024
The sum of EUR 2.1 million has been allocated by the programme in financial incentives for the development of the economy in the area inhabited by the members of the indigenous Slovenian national community in Hungary, for the period from 2021 to 2024. The objective is to reduce the economic underdevelopment of the area by creating new jobs, preserving existing ones, upgrading and establishing new infrastructure, and increasing the attractiveness of the region.
The program consists of three measures: i) promoting investments in the economy, ii) tourism development, specifically, investments in tourism for tourism providers and local authorities, as well as investments in the infrastructure of national community organizations such as the Alliance of Slovenians in Hungary, Porabje d.o.o., and Razvojna agencija Slovenska Krajina (the Development Agency Slovenian Landscape); iii) support for program implementation.
In November of the last year, the first public call for tenders for promoting economic investments for SMEs in the area inhabited by members of the indigenous national community in Hungary was published. Eligible costs included machinery and equipment purchases, as well as construction and artisanal works. The minimum amount of aid amounted to EUR 3,000, and the maximum was EUR 50,000. A sum of EUR 202,000 was allocated for 12 projects, two of which have already been completed.
In 2022, Hungary was the seventh most important trading partner of Slovenia in terms of the value of goods exchange, and the ninth in terms of the value of foreign direct investments in Slovenia. There is also significant economic cooperation in the field of tourism, where Hungary ranks sixth in terms of visits and overnight stays of foreign tourists in Slovenia.