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Under Janša’s government, we were successful in drawing EU funds, now we are considered a problematic country

Minister za finance Klemen Boštjančič (Foto: STA)

By: Andrej Žitnik (Nova24TV.si)

As we know, leftist governments are traditionally extremely bad at absorbing EU funds. Whether it is operational incompetence or, above all, a lack of will, because the possibility of corruption in European public funds is much smaller, is a matter of debate. But the data clearly shows that this is one of the skills that leftist governments simply do not have. If under Janša’s government we were extremely successful in drawing, now we are among the less successful European member states. For this purpose, MEP Romana Tomc addressed a public letter to the Minister of Finance Klemen Boštjančič, which is published in its entirety.

Let us remind you: in 2021, under Janša’s government, Slovenia was very successful in absorbing European funds and was already four percentage points above the EU average, but then something obviously went wrong under the new government. The official statistics of the European Commission show that Slovenia has not yet met any of the reform milestones that are among the conditions for financing the recovery plan.

Downhill under the new government

As early as mid-August 2022, the media reported that Slovenia had fallen from 4th to 11th place among all EU member states in the absorption of ESIF funds 2014-2020 when absorbing funds since April – i.e., in just four months. It was evident that absorption in Slovenia lags far behind the EU average in the case of the Cohesion Fund, where it mainly concerns the co-financing of major infrastructure projects in the fields of the environment, transport, and energy. It also appeared that 2020 was the first year in the 2014-2020 programme period when Slovenia managed to break into the EU-27 average and since then has been above average in the absorption of funds, the Slovenec news portal wrote.

Why is Slovenia so unsuccessful in drawing EU funds under leftist governments?

One of the key features of the Recovery and Resilience Fund is its performance-based nature, according to the ec.europa website. RRF funds are disbursed when Member States have satisfactorily completed key steps in implementing the reforms and investments included in the Recovery and Resilience Plans. We call these key implementation steps milestones and goals. Milestones represent a qualitative, and goals a quantitative step of implementation. Milestones and goals that need to be achieved by each member state are set out in the Council’s implementing decision. In order for milestones and goals to be shown to be satisfactorily met, Member States should complete the relevant steps of reform and investment and send relevant evidence to the European Commission, which should give a positive assessment.

Romana Tomc wrote to Minister Boštjančič

Since it is a topic that is extremely important for the country’s recovery after the covid-19 pandemic, MEP Romana Tomc addressed a letter to Minister Klemen Boštjančič regarding the ever-increasing backlogs that Slovenia is recording under the new government in relation to drawing European funds.

Dear Minister,

in the European Parliament, we recently discussed the issue of drawing funds from the Plan for Recovery and Resilience fund. Slovenia was singled out as one of the examples where implementation is far behind the intended plan. This is precisely why there is great fear in the European institutions that the plan will not be fully implemented, which would mean a great loss of European funds.

The reasons for these delays are said to be the failure to meet the goals or milestones.

It is very unpleasant that Slovenia is treated as a problematic country in discussions. I trust that as the Minister responsible, you will do everything in your power to ensure that there are no delays and that the funds available under the Recovery and Resilience Plan fund are not lost.

For the purposes of further interviews and explanations in the European Parliament, I would like to ask you to explain to me the causes of the delays.

Thank you for your clarifications and best regards,

Romana Tomc

When or if the Minister responds, we will also publish his response or his department’s reply.

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