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Support for sustainable urban development with the possibility of financing projects in Slovenian cities with European cohesion policy funds..

Urban development and cohesion policy 2014–2020

The European Union supports urban development with funding for European Cohesion Policy (ECP). In the period 2014-2020, the implementation of the ECP emphasised the importance of sustainable urban development in the EU. Therefore, several different measures are being implemented:

  • funds for sustainable urban development measures,
  • initiative for innovative urban development measures,
  • urban development network and
  • URBACT programme.

In drawing on funds for the ECP for urban development in support of Slovenian cities, we also carry out territorial dialogues with cities.

Funds for sustainable urban development measures

Part of the funds for European cohesion policy is intended exclusively for cities or urban areas for comprehensive sustainable urban development measures. In Slovenia, these funds are primarily intended for the reactivation of abandoned and underused areas in cities.

Urban areas in Slovenia are facing suburbanisation, the relocation of activities from urban centres to the periphery and, consequently, a loss of quality of mostly agricultural land near cities. At the same time, urban areas remain underused and degraded. All this weakens the developmental role of cities and the quality of life within them. Cohesion funds therefore support measures that will contribute to the efficient use of space in urban areas, to the improvement of public spaces in cities and hence also to the improvement of conditions for the development of economic and social activities and to the greater attractiveness of the urban environment for work and living.

Sustainable urban development measures are implemented through the Integrated Territorial Investment mechanism (ITI). They are largely supported by funds for urban renewal from  Priority Investment 6.3, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The ITI mechanism is also used for measures for sustainable mobility and energy efficiency in cities. 

All 11 urban municipalities are entitled to use the ITI mechanism, namely: Ljubljana, Maribor, Koper, Kranj, Celje, Novo mesto, Velenje, Nova Gorica, Ptuj, Murska Sobota and Slovenj Gradec. Co-financing projects are proposed by the urban municipalities themselves on the basis of their sustainable urban strategies. Urban renewal projects may be co-financed if the municipalities carry them out in degraded areas, which are defined in the expert study Criteria for determining degraded urban areas.

Priority investments in reducing air pollution and promoting noise reduction measures

We focus on providing actions for improving urban environment, revitalising towns and cities and decontaminating brownfield sites (including areas under areas under transformation), reducing air pollution and promoting noise reduction actions (PN 6.3), through which we are determined to meet the efficient use of space in urban areas. To this end, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributes € 86 million. The tasks of the intermediary body for the funds of this priority investment 6.3 are performed by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning.

The Association of Municipalities of Slovenia also participates in the use of the ITI mechanism as an intermediary body with specific competencies, which is regulated by the Decree on the Use of European Cohesion Policy Funds in the Republic of Slovenia in the Programming Period 2014–2020 under the Investment in Growth and Jobs Goal.

The European Commission initiative for innovative measures for sustainable urban development

Innovative actions, for which € 371 million is available, include studies and pilot projects to test new solutions to urban development challenges. In the European Commission's tenders, they can apply for funding from urban areas with more than 50,000 residents through innovative solutions. This measure, which supports innovative measures in the field of sustainable urban development, is implemented directly by the European Commission based on Article 8 of the ERDF Regulation.

Supported projects of Slovenian cities:

  • Urban municipality of Ljubljana - APPLAUSE project (Alien PLAnt SpEcies): from harmful to useful non-native plants with active involvement of the population 
  • Urban municipality of Maribor – project URBAN SOIL 4 FOOD: urban soil for food 

Urban development network

The network is intended for the exchange of information and experience between cities in the implementation of innovative measures and integrated territorial investments for the realisation of sustainable urban development. It was established by the European Commission based on Article 9 of the ERDF Regulation.

European Territorial Cooperation Programme (URBACT)

European Territorial Cooperation Programme (URBACT) is aimed at promoting and supporting sustainable and integrated urban development. The programme is one of the instruments of the European cohesion policy, financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the Member States and Norway and Switzerland.

The URBACT programme implements projects aimed at exchanging experiences and knowledge between local and regional actors in the field of urban policy topics the main aim of which is to improve the effectiveness and impact of urban policy on urban development. The programme has been implemented for the third programming period. The URBACT III programme promotes sustainable and integrated urban development and urban integration. It is based on the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, making it an important instrument for helping to implement urban policies at national and European level.

More about the programme at: URBACT SLOVENIJA.