75th regular session of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia
At today's session, the Government took note of the draft budget plan of the general government sector for 2024 and the first progress report on the use of European Cohesion Policy funds in the 2014–2020 and 2021–2027 programming periods. It also adopted the Preliminary Programme for the repair of direct damage to property caused by the floods of 4 August 2023 in the field of national road and rail infrastructure.
The Government takes note of the draft budget plan of the general government sector for 2024
The Government familiarised itself with the draft budget plan, which it has to submit to the European Commission by 15 October. In 2024, fiscal policy will focus on the reconstruction of flood-affected areas, while promoting growth and gradual consolidation. In 2024, the general government deficit is targeted at 3.8% of gross domestic product (GDP), but without flood recovery measures it would be below 3% of GDP.
In accordance with the Public Finance Act, the Government submits the state budget and the other three public finance budgets on a cash-flow basis to the National Assembly by the end of September. For submission to the European Commission and other international institutions, a draft budget plan is prepared in the autumn, which is consistent with the international ESA methodology and also forms the basis for the Fiscal Council's assessment.
Fiscal policy in 2024 will be characterised by the requirement to re-adhere to the fiscal rules and deal with the consequences of the natural disasters that hit Slovenia in August this year. In 2024, the general government deficit will be slightly higher than projected in the Stability Programme for 2023, at 3.8% of GDP, in the light of the post-disaster recovery measures. Without the recovery measures, it would be below 3% of GDP. The measures for the rehabilitation of the flood-affected areas are treated as one-off expenditures in the draft budget plan of the general government sector. Uncertainties remain high, the damage was provisionally assessed after the state budget was submitted to the National Assembly, and we do not know what the final agreement on the new fiscal rules at European Union level will be.
Based on the latest revision of the annual GDP and consolidated general government sector debt estimates, the latter amounted to 72.3% of GDP at the end of 2022. The Ministry of Finance estimates the general government sector debt at 69.9% of GDP in 2023 and 68.9% of GDP at the end of 2024.
Source: Ministry of Finance
First progress report on the use of European Cohesion Policy funds in the 2014–2020 and 2021–2027 programming periods
The Government took note of the first progress report on the use of European Cohesion Policy funds in the 2014–2020 and 2021–2027 programming periods, covering the period from 11 September 2023 to 11 October 2023.
During the reporting period, progress is discernible in the use of the 2014–2020 Operational Programme funds. Funds in the amount of EUR 88 million were paid out from the EU part. As at 11 October 2023, payments from the state budget represent 94% of the spending rights, i.e. a total of EUR 3.15 billion (EU part), while reimbursements from Brussels amounted to EUR 3.10 billion (EU part), or 93%, which currently puts Slovenia in 7th place among Member States. Slovenia expects 100% realisation of the 2014–2020 Operational Programme by the end of the year, given the dynamics of implementing the programme and the related commitments.
Tenders under the EU Cohesion Policy Programme for the 2021–2027 programming period have also started to be implemented intensively. Seven support decisions were issued for a total of EUR 61.56 million (EU part), compared to EUR 46.14 million (EU part) in the reporting period.
Source: Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development
The Government adopts the Preliminary Programme for the repair of direct damage to property caused by the floods of 4 August 2023 in the field of national road and rail infrastructure
The preliminary estimate of damage to national roads and rail infrastructure is EUR 751,621,179.77, of which EUR 502,394,438.77 relate to national road infrastructure and EUR 249,226,741 to rail infrastructure.
The Preliminary Programme relates to the implementation of urgent actions such as:
- the initiation of remedial and geotechnical measures to safeguard property by carrying out improvised or emergency or temporary remediation of landslides, land slippage, bridging and other structures to prevent further endangerment, or by carrying out the necessary geological-geotechnical investigations and drawing up the project documentation, regardless of who owns the land on which the implementation of the measure needs to be planned;
- ensuring uninterrupted use or operation of damaged infrastructure systems:
- ensuring that roads and the necessary accesses are safely navigable;
- ensuring provisional trafficability of public rail infrastructure and the necessary accesses or facilities;
- work to prevent further damage to infrastructure systems’ facilities and work to restore infrastructure systems to their original state;
- work to make infrastructure systems fully functional.
The Ministry of Infrastructure is responsible for the tasks and measures related to the rehabilitation of damaged national road and rail infrastructure.
The Preliminary Programme for the repair of direct damage to property caused by the floods of 4 August 2023 in the field of national road and rail infrastructure contains a preliminary assessment of the direct damage to national road and rail infrastructure and a proposal for urgent measures to be taken to deal with the consequences of the disaster. The Preliminary Programme for national road and rail infrastructure is being adopted in conjunction with Article 26 of the Act Determining Intervention Measures for Recovery from the Floods and Landslides of August 2023 and will become an integral part of the disaster recovery programme.
Source: Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning
Guidelines for the preparation of the academic activity implementation plan for the academic year 2024/2025
The Government took note of the Guidelines for the preparation of the academic activity implementation plan for the academic year 2024/2025 drawn up by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. The purpose of the Guidelines is to provide higher education institutions with the Government's guidance on priorities in providing enrolment places at the planning stage of the call for applications, within the limits of the available financial resources of lump sum financing of academic activities.
The document instructs higher education institutions to ensure, within regular academic activity for the academic year 2024/2025, the same number of enrolment places for full-time study for enrolment in year 1 for citizens of the Republic of Slovenia and other EU Member States, for study programmes that were additionally funded in the academic year 2023/2024 within the framework of the “Strategy on the provision of additional funding due to the increase of enrolment places in undergraduate and integrated master’s study programmes” adopted by the Minister responsible for higher education.
In addition, higher education institutions should increase, within regular academic activity for the academic year 2024/2025, the number of enrolment places for full-time study in study programmes which had enrolment restrictions in the first application deadline in the application and selection procedure for enrolment in the academic year 2023/2024 and which educate graduates in the following fields of study: education (teaching professions), law, social work, pharmacy, computer science and informatics, or computer science and information technologies, computer science and mathematics, electrical engineering, multimedia and media communications, mechanical engineering, technical safety, forestry and forest ecosystem management, food science.
The Guidelines also instruct higher education institutions to approach the redesign of those study programmes where it is evident from enrolment applications and actual enrolment that there is no interest in studying the programme, and where it is suspected that, given the drop-out rate of students after the first year, students are enrolling with the aim of acquiring student status rather than actually studying.
Source: Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation