The Slovenia Times

Šircelj says EUR 5bn in EU funds for Slovenia "adequate estimate"


EU finance ministers discussed on Tuesday for the first time the EUR 750 billion in funds to be available to member states to revive the EU economy after the pandemic.

The focus of the videoconference was the EUR 560 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which is part of the EUR 750 billion Next Generation EU recovery plan.

The Next Generation EU plan comes together with the EU's budget for the 2021-2027 period, which is to be worth EUR 1100 billion.

Slovenia should receive EUR 1.7 billion from the RRF fund, and together with the money from the new cohesion facility - React EU, and from the funds for rural development and for just green transition, it should get a total of EUR 5.1 billion.

Asked whether Slovenia was happy with these figures, Šircelj said it was hard to speak about satisfaction or dissatisfaction, "but for now this estimate is adequate".

"We need these funds and we hope the Commission sticks to these values when it sets eligibility conditions more in detail," he told Slovenian Brussels-based reporters after the online ministerial.

Slovenia advocates an ambitious and future-oriented multi-annual financial framework, and considers the Commission's proposals a step in the right direction, he said.

The minister also stressed that for Slovenia, solidarity was key, because the pandemic-fuelled crisis is not a classical economic crisis.

Commenting on other member states' views on the EU coronavirus aid package, Šircelj said that "we can't say the views ... are homogeneous".

However, member states are unanimous in that Europe needs a recovery deal that will enable its economy to thrive in its competitiveness, he added.

Šircelj also considers it important that the backbone sectors of the Slovenian economy are helped, especially exporters, and that the Slovenian economy remains integrated in global chains.

It is also in Slovenia's interest for all EU facilities to be implemented soon as possible and for the funds come to those who need them most as soon as possible.

To be prepared for when the money is available, Slovenia has already come up with some projects and eliminated some bureaucratic obstacles, he said.

The minister believes an effort should be made for a prompt agreement on the entire post-pandemic recovery package, although it is hard to say whether it could be ensured before summer.


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