Slovenia welcomes rise in EU rural development funds
Speaking with Slovenian Brussels-based reporters after a video call of EU agriculture ministers, Podgoršek said the European Commission's 2018 proposal of the bloc's 2021-2017 financial framework envisaged a 15% drop in rural development funds.
"Now this figure will be different after all and more acceptable," he said, noting that under the 2018 proposal, Slovenia was one of few EU members for which the funds for the first and second pillars of the common agricultural policy (CAP) were practically levelled, whereas for most of the countries, the first pillar (direct payments to farmers) would be considerably stronger than the second one (rural development funds).
Podgoršek said the formula to distribute the additional funds among EU members would remain the same, meaning the rural development funds for Slovenia would come almost close to the 2014-2020 budget.
However, these funds would have to be used by 2024, so there will be less time to plan spending than within the standard seven-year financial framework. Podgoršek expects the funds to focus on facilitating food self-sufficiency.
In 2018, the Commission proposed that EUR 365 billion, in current prices, be spent on the CAP in 2021-2017, of which EUR 286 billion for direct payments and market measures and EUR 79 billion for rural development.
EUR 26.5 billion more is now envisaged for the CAP as part of the measures designed to take the EU out of the coronavirus crisis, which feature an adjusted multi-annual financial framework for 2021-2027 and the new recovery fund.
Under the 2018 proposal, Slovenia was to receive EUR 1.66 billion as part of the CAP, of which EUR 903 million for direct payments, EUR 716 million for rural development and EUR 38.5 million for market measures.
At the time, the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food estimated this would not suffice to facilitate meeting the set goals; it was estimated that the funds for direct payments would drop by 3.9% compared to the 2014-2020 budget and rural development funds by almost 15%.