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Government measures for flood relief

The floods of early August 2023 caused catastrophic devastation across much of Slovenia. The Government reacted quickly and adopted measures to deal with the consequences. Comprehensive reconstruction will take time and will include measures to rehabilitate and upgrade infrastructure, as well as further assistance to those affected.

Saving lives during the worst storm to hit Slovenia will be followed by dealing with the aftermath and helping people, farmers, municipalities and businesses. In response, the Government has amended the Natural Disaster Recovery Act and prepared emergency legislation, which includes measures to help the population, economy and municipalities, as well as rehabilitation and preventive measures. The Government has also drafted the Reconstruction, Development and Financing Act, which will bring development-oriented measures for the comprehensive reconstruction of the country.

In order to coordinate flood recovery as efficiently as possible, a Flood Recovery Coordination Working Group was established in August 2023, as well as the Post-Flood and Landslide Reconstruction Office. Technical offices are being established to speed up the implementation of recovery and to ensure coordinated implementation between the different bodies responsible for the various measures. The Reconstruction Council advises the Government on the formulation of disaster recovery measures and the development of disaster resilience.  

In order to be effective in obtaining adequate funding from the various EU instruments to deal with the consequences of the catastrophic storm, a Joint Task Force has been set up, comprising representatives of the European Commission and Slovenia. The Joint Task Force has been primarily tasked with preparing the application for a grant from the EU Solidarity Fund, which was submitted to the European Commission by the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development. A special inter-ministerial working group is involved in the application process and will set up a system of management and control over the implementation of the measures financed from the EU Solidarity Fund.

A Fund for the Reconstruction of Slovenia will be set up to cofinance the implementation of comprehensive measures and projects related to floods and landslides, raising funds from the state budget, European funds and other sources.

Intervention measures to deal with the consequences of floods

The Act Determining Intervention Measures for Recovery from the Floods and Landslides of August 2023 brings numerous measures and various types of aid for entities in the affected areas.

The following benefits are available for individual households:

  • parents are exempted from kindergarten fees if their children were unable to attend
  • free meals for schoolchildren from families that have suffered damage
  • exemption from the payment of dormitory fees for students
  • expansion of the groups of people eligible for extraordinary cash social assistance (anyone affected by the floods can apply, regardless of income)
  • an increase in the amount of extraordinary cash social assistance to a maximum of seven times the amount of the census
  • exemption from the payment of income tax on financial aid and other resources received
  • the aid received is exempt from debt enforcement, tax enforcement and from the bankruptcy estate in personal bankruptcy proceedings
  • exemption from the payment of electricity and natural gas
  • people aged 65 or older entitled to free crisis accommodation
  • temporary provision of housing
  • assistance with the costs associated with rented accommodation
  • market rent subsidies
  • notifying a reduction in the value of property in the case of rights to access public funds
  • deferral of loan payments of up to 12 months (up to 24 months for consumer credit from non-bank lenders)
  • exemption from court fees for land registration
  • exemptions from payment of printing fees for the production of new documents
  • co-financing of psychosocial and family support programmes
  • higher education institutions can amend the conditions for progression through a study programme, and student status extension is possible

The following measures have been adopted to aid the economy:

  • simplified procedures for employing foreigners
  • an increase in the permitted volume of temporary and occasional work
  • reimbursement of wages paid to workers helping with flood recovery at their employer's premises
  • reimbursement of wages for furloughed employees
  • the condition for aid to the self-employed workers has been lowered and aid will be granted to all those whose turnover has declined 25% on an annual basis
  • deferral of loan payments of up to 12 months
  • the right to opt out of compulsory connection or compulsory energy use contracts for gas and district heating customers
  • advance payments of aid will not have to be secured by a bank guarantee
  • more favourable tax treatment for legal entities and sole traders who provide accommodation for those in need of it
  • solidarity support for employees in the personal assistance sector
  • solutions for the reconstruction of destroyed or damaged energy utility infrastructure
  • employers exceeding the quota of employees with disabilities, sheltered workshops and employment centres are also allowed to use public funds to repair the damage caused by the floods and landslides in order to purchase equipment that has been damaged

The following measures have been adopted to aid farmers:

  • tax relief
  • adapted reporting of force majeure or exceptional occurrences
  • solidarity aid for self-employed farmers
  • temporary measure in the field of bank loans
  • aid to concessionaires for the implementation of fisheries management
  • The Agency for Agricultural Markets and Rural Development may itself detect an occurrence of force majeure and initiate the procedure for dealing with it.

In the field of culture, the following measures apply:

  • solidarity aid for the self-employed in culture with the right to payment of social security contributions from the state budget, freelance journalists and religious workers
  • emergency extraordinary aid for film and audiovisual projects

The following measures are in place to assist municipalities:

  • engagement of people registered as unemployed to help with flood recovery efforts
  • municipalities are allowed to borrow more
  • use of the donated funds received by the municipalities has been made easier
  • there will be no limits on the use of the municipal budget reserve
  • municipalities will be able to receive financial assistance from municipalities not affected by the floods
  • simplification of public procurement
  • additional budget funds for reconstruction
  • waste management costs will be covered by the state
  • a remedial detailed municipal spatial plan (faster acquisition of new land for replacement buildings in the affected areas, also expanding the possibility of emergency reconstruction for buildings where the dimensions will be changed)
  • projects necessary for disaster recovery are not subject to an environmental impact assessment
  • reduced VAT rate for the purchase of fire-fighting equipment normally used in interventions
  • the provision of new basic computer equipment to municipalities and schools

Actions that need to be implemented by the state as quickly and efficiently as possible:

  • rehabilitation of public infrastructure and preventive measures on watercourses
  • simplification and speeding up of bureaucratic procedures, including in the field of public procurement
  • transfer of public employees to areas where needs will be greater
  • amendments to make it quicker and easier for the state to buy land needed to build infrastructure
  • exempting investors in such infrastructure for disaster relief purposes from paying compensation due to the conversion of agricultural land to other uses
  • the creation of a Fund for the Reconstruction of Slovenia, which will collect funds from the state budget, European funds and funds from other sources
  • solutions for mobilising international aid.