The Slovenia Times

Slovenia battles delays in drawing of EU funds, minister blames previous govt


Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič has acknowledged that Slovenia is and will remain behind schedule in drawing funds from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility, largely due to a misguided approach taken by the previous government. But the first payment is due in April and he remains confident it will be possible to secure all the funds available until the end of 2026.

The €672 billion plan provides Slovenia with €1.49 billion in grants and €705 million in loans. So far, the country has received €231 million in advances. The first installment of regular funds is due in April after the EU Commission cleared the first €50 million request for funding.

Pointing the finger at the previous government, Boštjančič said on 8 March that delays with regard to certain targets amount to more than 15 months at this point already.

"The previous government laid down a funds phasing plan and defined the milestones, but the problem is that the proposal was made hastily, without strategic steps and with a bad timetable," the minister said.

Boštjančič singled out building permits, noting that these procedures are extremely complex and protracted in Slovenia. "It was simply unrealistic to expect that, for example, by December 2022, we would have completed the tendering of all the contracts and projects for urban waste water discharge and treatment, or the tendering for the drinking water supply project."

The minister argued that the previous government had taken a completely misguided organisational approach. While in Croatia, for example, each of the country's six main pillars of action were entrusted to individual ministries, in Slovenia more than 10 ministries and different authorities are responsible for the four pillars.

"In practice, this means a lot of coordination between often uncoordinated ministries and other authorities," he said.

While also expecting liquidity issues due to the need for advance payments by the state in the face of the delays, Boštjančič remains confident that all targets will be met and all funds available secured by the end of 2026. "I assure you we will do our best."

The statement came just before the European Commission issued a preliminary clearance for the first €50 million payment. The funds will be transferred in April pending the final confirmation.

European Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, who visited Slovenia this week, said the first payment was a key first step, but he stressed that the Commission also expected Slovenia to undertake the reforms it had pledged to carry out.

It is important to accelerate the commitments regarding reforms and investments so that the effects of these measures are visible as soon as possible, he said.


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