69th regular session of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia
The Government starts examining information on the preparation of the budgets of the Republic of Slovenia for 2024 and 2025. It gave its consent to the draft amendment of the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014–2020, took note of the Autumn Forecast of Economic Trends 2023 and the information on the baselines for the preliminary programme for the repair of direct damage resulting from the August floods.
At today's meeting, the Government began examining the information on the preparation of the budgets of the Republic of Slovenia for 2024 and 2025. Recovery from the worst floods in the history of independent Slovenia is a top priority for this Government. The Ministry of Finance called on all proponents of financial plans to give up part of the funds within the framework of their share (by 4%), as additional funds must be prioritised for eliminating the consequences of natural disasters and catastrophic August floods. These funds were not planned in the breakdown and must be reallocated to the Ministry of Finance's reserve due to this natural disaster.
The Government will continue its discussion on the preparation of the 2024 and 2025 budgets at a future session. The legal deadline for submitting the draft budget package to the National Assembly is 1 October.
The government gives its consent to the draft amendment of the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014–2020
The Government gave its consent to the draft amendment of the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014–2020, prepared by the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development. With the aim of ensuring that European cohesion funds are available for intervention measures after the storm and that 100% of the 2014–2020 funds are used, EUR 50 million of the surplus spending rights will be redirected to the Reconstruction Fund for Slovenia and a further EUR 20.5 million of European funds will be reallocated to the implementation of intervention measures. The amendment will be technically coordinated with the European Commission by the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development and formally forwarded to Brussels by the end of this month.
According to the latest data (as of 30 August 2023), some intervention measures will have to be taken regarding infrastructure under construction due to flooding. These are mainly to restore the infrastructure to its original state and other necessary works to ensure the basic flow capacity and management of the watercourses. This applies to the following infrastructure projects already being implemented:
- Flood protection in the Gradaščica basin;
- Flood protection in the Selška Sora basin;
- Ensuring the flood safety of the Drava basin – Meža with Mislinja area;
- Reduction of flood risk in the Drava Basin – Dravinja with Polskava.
Among the measures to deal with the consequences of flooding, the purchase of emergency equipment and resources is also foreseen, in particular aggregates, submersible pumps, dehumidifiers, flood bags.
Some of the measures that cannot be implemented under the 2014–2020 Operational Programme due to flooding and other past unforeseen events will be transferred to the 2021–2027 programming period. This will require an amendment to the Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2021–2027, which is expected to be prepared before the end of the year by the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development.
According to the European Commission's data as of 4 September 2023, Slovenia ranks sixth among EU Member States in terms of performance in spending the available funds for the 2014–2020 programming period, with 93%, which means that Slovenia is among the best performing EU Member States in terms of the use of European Cohesion Policy funds.
Source: Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development
A further slowdown in the growth of economic activity this year, especially in the export sector, IMAD expects slightly higher economic growth in the coming years.
The government took note of the Autumn Forecast of Economic Trends 2023 prepared by the Institution of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD).
Economic growth is slowing down this year, especially in the export part of the economy, while private consumption growth is also lower than last year and investment in buildings and construction continues to grow. In its Autumn Forecast, the IMAD projects real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 1.6% this year, slightly lower than forecast in the spring, with the level and composition of GDP significantly changed from what was projected at that time. In the coming years, GDP growth is expected to be slightly higher again – 2.8% in 2024 and 2.5% in 2025.
Inflation will continue to slow down later in the year, but less markedly than in recent months. In the absence of external shocks, its decline, supported by monetary policy measures, will continue over the next two years.
Source: Institution of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development
Baselines for the preliminary programme for the repair of direct damage to property caused by floods and landslides on 4 August 2023
The Government took note of the information on the baselines for the preliminary programme for the repair of direct damage to property caused by floods and landslides on 4 August 2023.
Pursuant to the Natural Disaster Recovery Act, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning prepared information on the baselines for the Preliminary programme for the repair of direct damage to property caused by floods and landslides on 4 August 2023, which relates to the provision of funds for advance payments to local communities of up to 40% of the preliminary damage assessment.
Under the Natural Disaster Recovery Act, in order to prevent an increase in the damage already caused and to protect the lives and property of the population, a decision may be taken to advance funds for disaster recovery to local authorities or to allocate funds to other direct budget users on the basis of a preliminary disaster recovery programme and to provide funds from the budgetary reserve. The advance payment of funds shall be granted to local authorities or other direct budget users on the basis of a preliminary disaster recovery programme up to a maximum of 40% of the preliminary assessment of the direct damage to property prepared by the Ministry responsible for protection against natural and other disasters.
The proposal for the allocation of funds to local authorities is based on a preliminary assessment of the damage to municipally owned facilities or to facilities owned by public law entities of which the municipality is the founder or co-founder, and the funds needed to carry out the geo-technical measures. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, in cooperation with the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief and associations of municipalities, invited all municipalities to submit a preliminary damage assessment. By the deadline, 123 municipalities had submitted a notification to the Ministry. The information received indicates that the preliminary assessment of the damage to buildings owned by the municipalities or by public law entities of which the municipality is the founder or co-founder, or the funds for the implementation of geo-technical measures, totals EUR 1,095,607,471.
The notified preliminary damage assessment is still being verified.
Source: Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning
Reimbursement of intervention costs to municipalities affected by storms between 26 July and 3 August
In the period 26 July to 3 August 2023, a natural disaster (severe storms with prolonged heavy rainfall, strong winds, hail, torrential flooding and landslides) of major magnitude occurred over a large area of the Republic of Slovenia. The municipalities in the affected areas have exhausted the municipal budget funds earmarked for the provision of basic living conditions and the elimination of the consequences of natural and other disasters in accordance with Article 37(2)(12) of the Protection against Natural and Other Disasters Act.
The Government decided to reimburse 51 municipalities for eligible intervention costs totalling EUR 1,498,819.76. It ordered the Ministry of Defence or the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief to reimburse the eligible intervention costs to the municipalities on the basis of the requests submitted by the affected municipalities, but not more than the estimated value. The spending rights for this purpose are to be provided from the budgetary reserve.
Due to the severe storm with prolonged heavy rainfall, strong winds, hail, torrential flooding and landslides, again causing extensive damage to property and high intervention costs for rescue teams, directly carrying out the most urgent protection tasks over several days in order to provide the most urgent emergency relief, rescue and assistance and other direct support to those affected by the storms, operational firefighting units and Civil Protection authorities, units and services from municipal, regional and national jurisdictions were activated, including material and technical resources.
The protection comprised organisational, technical and other measures and the use of technical and other means for the direct personal and collective protection of people, animals, property, cultural heritage and the environment against the consequences of the natural disaster. The rescue operation included measures and procedures to save people whose lives or health were at risk, to save animals, property and cultural heritage from the consequences of the disaster. The assistance consisted of the actions and services of experts, rescue units and services, the use of protective and rescue equipment and means of assistance. The municipalities in the affected areas had already exhausted their municipal budget reserves at the time of the May and July storms.
At this stage, intervention costs are being paid to the municipalities and the reimbursement of eligible intervention costs incurred by the operational fire brigades for the urgent performance of protection, rescue and assistance tasks will be dealt with separately when the final report on the response is drawn up.
Source: Ministry of Defence