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To implement EU cohesion policy and carry out other joint development tasks, development regions are grouped together as a cohesion region.

Division of cohesion regions

The European Union has established a common statistical classification of territorial units, known as NUTS, to enable the collection, development and publication of harmonised regional statistics in the EU. This hierarchical system is also used for socio-economic analysis of regions and for the design of interventions under EU cohesion policy. 

The NUTS level is defined on the basis of population: NUTS 1 (minimum 3 million and maximum 7 million); NUTS 2 (minimum 800 000 and maximum 3 million); NUTS 3 (minimum 150 000 and maximum 800 000).

Slovenia has been subject to the change to NUTS 2 since 1 January 2008, which means that it is divided into two cohesion regions:

  • Eastern Slovenia and
  • Western Slovenia.

The division into two cohesion regions was applied for the first time in the 2014–2020 programming period for the distribution of EU funds. 

Since 2016, the Western Slovenia Cohesion Region has been classified again as one of Europe's developed regions, while Eastern Slovenia remains one of the less developed regions.

Presentation of the cohesion regions in figures.

Eastern Slovenia Cohesion Region

The Eastern Slovenia Cohesion Region has:

  • Population: 1,105,046
  • Area (km2): 12,433
  • Number of development regions: 8
  • Number of municipalities 148
  • Population density (number of inhabitants per km2): 88.9

Western Slovenia Cohesion Region

The Western Slovenia Cohesion Region has:

  • Population: 1,003,931
  • Area (km2): 7,840
  • Number of development regions: 4
  • Number of municipalities 64
  • Population density (number of inhabitants per km2): 128.1

Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2021

Functioning of cohesion regions

The decision-making body of a Cohesion Region is the Cohesion Region Development Council, to which each development region appoints five representatives. 

The Cohesion Region Development Council participates in decision-making and gives its prior consent to the content and implementation of EU programmes affecting the development of the Cohesion Region.

The tasks of the Cohesion Region Development Council are:

  • in carrying out its tasks, the Council cooperates with ministries, regions, municipalities, associations of economic activities, self-governing national communities and public and non-governmental organisations, and with regions of other countries in the field of regional development, European cohesion policy and rural development policy;
  • monitoring and pro-active cooperation in the implementation of the European Cohesion Policy;
  • representing the interests of the regions in the process of implementing European territorial cooperation programmes;
  • promoting, supporting and coordinating regional and inter-regional development integration;
  • international cooperation (Assembly of European Regions, Regions4Cohesion, Cohesion Alliance, Committee of the Regions).

The Eastern Slovenia Cohesion Development Council has 40 members from eight development regions. These are as follows: Pomurska, Podravska, Koroška, Savinjska, Zasavska, Posavska, South-eastern Slovenija and Primorsko-notranjska.       

The Western Slovenia Cohesion Development Council has 20 members from four development regions, namely: Gorenjska, Goriška, Obalno-kraška and Central Slovenia.