Slovenia needs smart projects to use EU funds, debate hears
Economist Mojmir Mrak said that the amount of EU funds available to Slovenia in the coming years will be the largest ever, noting that a proportion will have to be drawn fast.
"There isn't a lot of time," he noted, but emphasised the positive aspect of the government responding to the situation rapidly.
"The problem is that we as a country do not have a clear picture of what we want, what our priorities are, because we don't have a development strategy, but this is not a problem of this government," said Mrak.
To address these issues, the government has already "set clear priorities and decided how much funds will go for what", said Monika Kirbiš Rojs, state secretary of the Government Office for Development and EU Cohesion Policy.
The relevant document will be ready in autumn, she said, adding that projects will also have to cover some infrastructure investments, above all in railways and the third developmental axis, a north-south expressway. She believes that Slovenia must carry out reforms and tackle red tape.
MEP Ljudmila Novak of New Slovenia (NSi/EPP), expressed the belief that the government will be able to select and carry out projects beneficial to the society and the economy.
She believes projects which would be hard to fund by the state alone should take precedence, above all in transport infrastructure and health care, but also the EU Green Deal.
Klemen Grošelj, an MEP for the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ/Renew Europe) said that "infrastructure must not be the only goal of there projects". Slovenia should take the cue from core EU countries which are using the money to fund technological breakthroughs.
Grošelj and Mrak both said that time was running out for the drawing of cohesion funds; Slovenia needs to focus on the Green Deal, R&D, digitalisation and productivity.