Slovenian MEPs hail EU recovery deal
"There's excellent news from Brussels this morning. It's an excellent compromise for all," Romana Tomc (EPP/SDS) tweeted, congratulating her party boss, PM Janez Janša, on his "persistence, wisdom, courage and well run talks", and echoing his view that the EUR 10.5 billion negotiated for Slovenia is the "best outcome yet".
The sentiment was shared by a fellow party member, MEP Milan Zver (EPP/SDS), who congratulated the Slovenian negotiating team headed by PM Janša via his Twitter account, describing the sum negotiated as an excellent success.
MEP Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS) also congratulated the negotiators on increasing the volume of cohesion funds and for ensuring that the West Slovenia cohesion region would receive financial support as well, urging efforts to draw on the funds successfully.
Meanwhile, MEP Ljudmila Novak (EPP/NSi) said she was glad that more financial aid had been set aside for Slovenia, EUR 10.5 billion, however she pointed out that Slovenia would not access the funds if the government did not come up with specific projects and programmes.
Novak also expressed satisfaction over the EU council underlining the importance of the rule of law in the agreement "despite pressure from Poland and Hungary", highlighting the role of EU values.
Hailing what she described as the European leaders' "historic deal", MEP Tanja Fajon (S&D/SD) regretted that Hungary's and Poland's blockade with support from their allies, including Slovenia, prevented a consensus to peg EU funds directly to respect for the rule of law and commitment to shared European values. "I'm afraid it could lead to a disintegration of the union's foundations," she said.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats (SD) deems the agreement good for Slovenia, despite a "bitter aftertaste" because there will be less funding available to meet climate goals, as well as for science, research and innovation and for health. This would not allow the development shift to a green, fair and innovative Europe that was hoped for, Fajon's office said.
Her party peer Milan Brglez (S&D/SD) welcomed the deal with mixed emotions. "On the one hand the course set out is the right one, while on the other the most underfunded fields (environment, health and R&D) have lost the most money in relative terms. Nevertheless, the deal is proof that EU member countries can also reach an agreement in hard times," reads the response from his office.
Brglez would want a greater proportion of grants but he conceded that "the prime minister negotiated a relatively good position for Slovenia; it's now up to the government to devise bold programmes to use the funds acquired".
Likewise, the two Renew/LMŠ MEPs, Irena Joveva and Klemen Grošelj, opined that the biggest challenge for Slovenia now would be setting out suitable plans to allow the country to draw the funds fast and effectively, where they believe it should follow key green transition, climate neutrality and digitalisation goals.
The pair hailed the agreement not so much for its content as for the circumstances that require of the EU to endorse the multi-year budget and recovery fund in the shortest time possible to start dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. They too noted the substantial reduction in funding of health, research, environment, technological sovereignty, innovation and rural development.
The compromise does not yet solve the issue of the rule of law and conditionality of EU funds on compliance with the EU's fundamental values, although it does include mechanisms that may yet make the current euphoria about the deal much more bitter, said Grošelj and Joveva.