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torek, 19 oktobra, 2021

Hurting Our Country Did Not Pay Off for Lenarčič and Fajon: Slovenia Has Received the First EU Funds From the Recovery Fund

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

After we exclusively reported in July this year that the Slovenian Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič joined the conditioning for the approval of the Slovenian Recovery Plan worth 2.5 billion euros, thus trying to hurt his own homeland, the SD president Tanja Fajon recently also pointed out that she would insist on initiating a regulation on the conditionality of respect for the rule of law in the European Parliament. Despite their efforts to act to the detriment of their own homeland, the Ministry of Finance reports that Slovenia has received the first inflow from the Recovery and Resilience Fund in the amount of 231 million euros.

Based on the financial contract for the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Fund, Slovenia received an advance payment in the amount of 13 percent of the allocated grants from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which amounts to 231 million. The funds from the plan will be allocated to the areas of sustainable mobility and digital transformation.

But let us remind you of what happened before this. When the news about Commissioner Janez Lenarčič caused a stir in the public, Tina Štrafela, who is in charge of communication and public relations in his office, responded with a delay but did not answer our questions. Namely, she asserted that the Commissioner did not advocate the conditionality or blockade of the Slovenian recovery plan at any time and at any stage in the procedure. But the information we received was reliable and confirmed, and Lenarčič was only trying to put out the fire by denying it. In addition, the question of whether and why Lenarčič’s cabinet supported the proposals of Reynders, Jourova, and Sinkevicius to set the deadline for the appointment of the prosecutors, among others, remained unanswered – and if the proposal in question was approved, that would delay the approval of the recovery plan.

“I am concerned about the data of the new Eurobarometer, according to which Slovenians have the least trust in the government, in vaccination, and also in the plan for spending the EU recovery funds, out of all the countries of the EU. IN the European Parliament, we will also insist on initiating a regulation on the conditionality of respect for the rule of law,” the president of the SD party, Tanja Fajon, announced via Twitter last week. Prime Minister Janez Janša pointed out that it is almost impossible to stoop any lower and also that Fajon is practically threatening the country in her tweet. And Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, described Fajon’s behaviour as a vile act, as this threat hinders the drawing of funds from the EU for investments in new hospitals, kindergartens, roads, schools, homes for the elderly, and the environment. The public sabotage of the country she wants to lead is very disappointing. However, on the one hand, her stated intention was not even all that surprising, given that it is a well-known fact that Fajon is doing her best in Brussels to slander our current government and also persuade everyone that the latter is responsible for the deterioration of the rule of law in Slovenia.

Anyhow, despite certain people’s efforts to harm the country, we have received the first inflow from the Recovery and Resilience Fund. In April, the government adopted a National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which is the basis for using the available funds from the aforementioned fund. It is the most financially comprehensive mechanism under the European Next Generation EU Recovery and Resilience Package, within which Slovenia will also have access to the React-EU initiative, the Fair Transition Fund, and Rural Development. Slovenia will receive a grant of almost 1.8 billion euros. These funds are intended to strengthen the recovery after the covid-19 crisis and to encourage investments in green and digital transition in the EU Member States.

In the national plan, Slovenia has identified development areas that will contribute to mitigating the negative economic and social effects of the covid-19 epidemic and prepare the country for the challenges posed by the green and digital transition. The highlight of Slovenia’s plan is to focus on green (Slovenia has committed to allocating 43.45 percent of the funds to green goals) and digital content (Slovenia has committed to allocating more than 20 percent to digital goals) and reforms and investments in four pillars: green transition (552 million euros available in grants), digital transformation (317 million euros available in grants), smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (664 million euros available in grants), and health and social security (245 million euros available in grants).

Each Member State is entitled to certain amounts of funds in advance. Slovenia has now received an advance payment of 13 percent of the grant from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which amounts to 231 million euros. The funds can be used for the investments and reforms that are first on the agenda within the plan. Minister of Finance Andrej Šircelj emphasised that he was pleased that we had received the first funds from the recovery and resilience mechanism after signing the contract. “I announced this in July, and the expectations have been met. This is an important achievement for Slovenia and a big step forward in achieving the set goals,” the minister added.

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